If you drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in late May and early June, you’ll be missing the forest for the trees if you don’t stop your car, get out, and walk along the forest edge.
You’ll see, hear, smell or otherwise learn something just about anywhere you do this. Walking speed allows our senses to work for us. Even the parkway’s slower-than-usual 45 mph is nowhere near slow enough for full comprehension of the full nature of any place along its 450 mile length.
But especially stop if you see Mountain Laurel in bloom. What looks like featureless pink-white masses from your car windshield will reveal intricate details when you stop and look closely.
This webpage gives some of the details of laurel’s intricately-crafted pollination trickery: ten spring-loaded pollen triggers in each flower are designed to catapult sperm-packets (the content of a pollen grain) onto a bee back on one flower and then transfer to the female sticky parts (stigma) of another. And a seed is born!