5/14/12. Cottonwood leaf floating on duckweed. Came across a large floating mat of duckweed (Lemna app) along the Yakima River this weekend - dappled sunlight made it look as if you could walk across this deceptively solid carpet. Black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp trichocarpa) emits the most delightful sweet perfume from the resin it exudes, maybe signaling its important medicinal properties. Local tribes used it as an antibacterial salve and for other treating other maladies such as sore throats. Bees use the resin to prevent decay in their hives and seal out intruders. We did see a lot of bees along this stretch of trail which had many cottonwoods; maybe this association helps prevent against the "hive collapse" epidemic we are seeing in agricultural areas?
Thank you for the many wonderful comments yesterday on the mule ears photo - quite unexpected!
Lemna sppPopulus balsamifera ssp trichocarpaYakima River