Monday, March 18, 2013
What: I just wanted to post a quick photo of a basswood bud. My friend Emily Stone told me a few years back that the buds looked like a mouse wearing a motorcycle helmet. I love that description, and it's definitely evident in the photo. The buds are edible and delicious (though a bit mucilaginous). Emily also taught me that you could eat the young leaves when they open. It's one of the first spring greens to come out and such a wonderful treat to be able to eat.
The little bumps visible on the twig are lenticels, the mouths along the branch. Basswood twigs, like most other species, are photosynthetic. If you peel back the outer bark you can see a thin layer of green tissue. The lenticels provide oxygen and other gases to move back and forth in support of respiration.