You can use this part of the book to…
- talk about flowers, trees, dragonflies and fungi
- deciduous trees that drop leaves in the fall.
Hundreds of flowers are spread
On the top of a sunflower’s head,
And what is even more bizarrer
Each yellow ‘petal’ is another flower.
The head of a sunflower is made up of many much smaller flowers. This is a ‘composite’ flower. Every little ridge in the central disc is a flower that is developing. Those nearer to the outside of the disc are more mature, and hold up little stalks with yellow pollen. Even what seem like the petals are each made of a separated and highly modified flower. Eventually, all the flowers of the disc will mature, and hopefully all will produce seeds – sunflower seeds.
The Latin name of sunflowers is Helianthus (it actually means sun-flower). They are native to America, but are now grown all round the world because they are pretty to look at and because oil can be made from the seeds.
A Martha’s pennant dragonfly
Rests on a twig in standby
Watching with massive eyes
Ready to chase passing flies.
This Martha’s pennant dragonfly, Latin name Celithemis martha, is found in the Eastern part of the United States. This is one of the few animals in this book in which the female is more brightly colored than the male (have a look at the male king parrot, or male peacock). This is the female – the male is mostly black.
Dragonflies hunt other flies while they are flying. They will often come to a rest on top of a stem, and watch for anything that they might catch. Like their close relatives, the damselflies, dragonflies have eyes that wrap around their heads and can see in virtually every direction. The ‘Ultraviolet’ page, has a nice picture of the head of a different dragonfly that shows the eyes more clearly.
Are the eyes of all damselflies and dragonflies the same color?
Along the road, poplars stand tall
Leaves change color in the fall
As is usual for deciduous trees
Forming these golden sentries.
It is time to talk about deciduous trees. That’s the word for trees that drop their leaves for the winter. As they get ready for the ‘fall’, the leaves change colors. As the light-catching green pigments break down, they transform to yellow/orange, red, and brown. Most deciduous trees live where the weather can get chilly in the winter. In other parts of the world in which there is a very hot and dry season, deciduous trees may shed leaves for those seasons. Guys who have leaves all year round are the evergreens – but individual leaves do not last forever, they too will be shed. The picture below is part of an evergreen tree, a pine. Towards the end of the year, in Northern locations, older pine needles will lose their green color and drop.
Golden yellow on dead wood
A fungus digs deep for food
Upwards, little fans appear
Releasing spores for next year.
Our last yellow guy is Trametes, the turkey-tail fungus. It is a ‘bracket’ fungus. Bracket fungi do not make mushrooms like other fungi. Rather, they make spores on fan-like and ledge-like extensions. Turkey-tail fungi come in a variety of colors, and the colors can change a lot after rain. These guys are growing from a dead branch that has green lichens growing on the surface. Lichens include fungi and algae living together. There are more on the Gray pages.
If you have questions or ideas, please let us know below.