Sunday, May 21, 2017

Purple mystery

I've been noticing trees like this around town lately and wondering what they are. After seeing this beauty in a little park by the Burrard bridge on Saturday, I'm determined to find a name for it. 
My friend Ros, visiting from Mexico, gives the mystery tree a good sniff. She says it "smells purple." 
A close-up of the blossoms, which look like they'd have lots of nectar. The starlings and bees were having a good time on it in Saturday's sunshine.

As the seasons come and go every year, I learn certain plant names and recite them confidently as long as the plants are front and centre. Some names I retain from year to year (Alchemilla Mollis, or Lady’s Mantle, seems to stick), but others (Aquilegia, or columbine) vanish as quickly as the blooms. 

I’m pretty sure I once knew the name of a spectacular tree with wisteria-like purple-blue flowers that I saw last week by the Kitsilano swimming pool, but I couldn’t retrieve it. I was willing to let it slip, but during a walk with my friend Ros in a little park east of the Burrard bridge on Saturday, I spotted another. It was a stunning tree, a dance of delicate blue against the concrete bridge structure, all the more beautiful because it stood in a semi-wild field of white blossoms.

A tree like that deserves to have a name, especially since the starlings were having a ball in it, the bees were hovering, and Ros discovered it has a lovely scent. “Like Juicy Fruit,” she said, sniffing. “It smells purple.”

Unfortunately, it’s not common enough to be in my usual Internet search sites or even in my Vancouver Tree Book. I tried hard to make it into a purple robe locust, but the pods are wrong.  I’ll keep looking, and when I find it, I’ll add the name to this blog. It will come in handy for when I forget it next year.

1 comment:

  1. Now, are you telling me I'm going to forget the names of trees from one year to the next....just when I had this idea of really trying to learn the names of trees this year!