This golden Witch Hazel, otherwise known as Hamamelis virginiana, surprises me every year when a neighbor’s shrub blooms in early March. I don’t know whether it is one of the well-known varieties, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ but it is about as tall as “Arnold’s Promise” grows.
I was surprised to wake up and see that there had been a snowfall. But the witch hazel does not seem to mind. I have seen witch hazels come through a snowfall before.
I just learned that these very early blooming shrubs shrubs are pollinated – but not by honeybees. Bernd Heinrich was born in Germany, but came to the U.S. He is now professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont. Insect physiology is one of his particular studies. He has written a number of books, studies of insect physiology, bird behavior and much more.
The amazing thing I learned is that one of Bern Heinrich’s discoveries is that it was owlet moths (family Noctuidae) called winter moths, that pollinate winter months. They warm themselves up by using energy to shiver and raise their body temperatures to fly and search for food at night. “Heinrich observed that these moths mostly feed on bleeding sap from injured trees. So, the tree is dependent on the moth, but the moth is probably not dependent on the tree.” I will probably never get to see these creatures, but I like knowing about them..
I wasn’t expecting the snowfall that began yesterday afternoon. I was surprised, and even delighted to wake up to a winter wonderland.
The sun is shining more and more brightly. The snow is beautiful this morning, but I am happy to think about sunnier days.