Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sprall Has Sprung

It has been pretty wierd weather-wise here at the Arboretum. The drought that briefly retreated last year is back. It's itchy dry, and only recently have the evenings been cool enough to get the fall color change going. Not only has the weather been cool enough to finally kick start fall (about a month ago), but just recently I've seen plants blooming that usually don't start to do so until late February. One of those is the Pink Trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa), probably one of the most noticeable tree here at the Arboretum from late February until early May when it blooms with a thick coat of pink trumpet-shaped blooms and nothing else -prefering to leaf out just after the bloom on the trees have peaked. 

Now, however, it is starting to bloom. I cannot remember a season so early for them in the 20 + years I have been at the Arboretum. I've also observed flowering almonds blooming (usually a late January to mid-February occurrence) and at the same time turning fall color (see photo below). 

Since we haven't had much of a winter yet (although that could change), I am proposing that these phenomena I am seeing, fall color occurring at the same time as spring bloom, constitute evidence of a new season heretofore unknown: "Sprall" (pronounced "Spawl"). The word is a combination of Spring and Fall and would accurately describe the mixed up occurance of bloom and fall color that I have just recently seen here. 

Now I'm not one to over-react to seemingly weird weather here. I've been a resident of Southern California since I was born and am quite used to pretty wide fluctuations in the the climactic changes that we pass off as seasons. However, this last one is quite unique, and deserves some notice, and definitely its own name. 

Flowering almond showing both spring flowers and fall color. 

Tabebuia impetiginosa with both fall color and spring bloom. 
However, even though the spring color is months early, the fall color is months late. 

Viburnum  macrocephalum, the Chinese snowball blooming at the same time that Ginkgo biloba fall color is peaking (the yellow in the background is a display of golden Ginkgo leaves). I cannot recall Viburnum macrocephalum blooming so early. 

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