Friday puzzle solved – better late than never!

I spent yesterday flying from Seattle to Buffalo and didn’t get a chance to post the answer to the puzzle on Friday.  This was an easy one for our readers – the shrub is (was?) a mesquite, and the bushy growth in the photograph is mistletoe (as identified by Bob and seconded by Ginny and Jimbo). 

I am pretty sure this mesquite was dead, as it had been a wet spring and everything was leafing out.  That being said, I didn’t cut into the bark to find out.  If it is dead, that does raise the fascinating question of how the mistletoe can extract water from a dead shrub.  So it’s likely that the mesquite is just slow to leaf out.

This (and other) mistletoes provide food for native birds, and as Jimbo points out they are the perfect dispersal mechanism for the sticky seeds.  There’s a great video of this behavior in the "Secret Life of Plants" by David Attenborough – if you haven’t seen this series, you should.  Amazing.

Thanks, all, for playing – and Peter, your last comment was perfect!

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

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