Sweet gum bloom revealed
The bloom of the sweet gum tree hides unnoticed high in the tree's limbs during spring.
On April 5, I came upon a sweet gum limb that had not withstood the strong winds of a thunderstorm the day before.
On this morning the sun shone bright, offering a good opportunity to photograph this common bloom that is seldom seen close up. I propped up the limb, braced my camera on a rock padded by my bean bag, and used the sky and distant treetops as backdrop.
Many trees such as dogwoods, red bud, wild plum and tulip poplar are wild trees native to Southeast Missouri whose blooms are flamboyant and easily identified. Other native trees such as oaks, hickories, cypress and the sweet gum are less conspicuous.
The sweet gum tree can grow to more than 80 feet tall, but it is not treasured for lumber because its wood grows in a twisted manner beneath its secret-keeping bark.
Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the O'Tenem Gallery.