Drawn a month ago, with the aid of a dissecting microscope. A month ago, pollen spewed from the male cones of the ponderosa pines. Now the dry cones are falling to the ground, their work completed. The female cones remain on the trees, seeds growing between their scales where the pollen penetrated. The reproduction strategy of conifers involves producing both male and female parts on the same tree–thus the male cones and the female cones.

There is something about the timing as well. The species seem to take turns releasing pollen. Just last week on the Pete Lake Trail I picked up a branch of Alaska yellow cedar foliage and pollen flew like dust. The cedars might be the last conifer species to release pollen before summer truly arrives.

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