Nature Notes

Observations One Through Ten

By Sydney Chandler

Sometimes a day of exploring yields a choppy list of things that make us say “Wow!”. For this collection, the prevalence of young explorers have inspired that this be a numbers-based list of observations. At any age, noticing numbers in nature is a fun way to deepen observations!

One: A lone path is carved through the duckweed pond. It leads to a single turtle sunning on a log. The turtle’s shell is coated in drying duckweed.

Two: The gray moth lands on a leaf, and its two mirrored wings open and close slowly before it takes off again in flight.

Three: The Blue Beech tree produces a fruit that grows beneath a unique three-pointed leaf. Collections of budding fruits hang in a cluster that stretches just a few inches downward off the branch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘Rustic Orange’ Coleus

Four. The ‘Rustic Orange’ Coleus plant grows leaves in four precise directions as if it has an internal compass guiding its growth.

Five. Clusters of needles on the Swiss Stone Pine hold five individual needles. These clusters are like miniature tassels for the ends of bike handles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASwiss Stone Pine

Six: The stunning Blackberry Lily grows six pedals. Each has vibrant colors and enticing patters of dots to attract pollinators.

Seven: Leaves on the Ohio Buckeye tree grow in groups. In many cases, the leaves are in groups of seven individual leaves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlackberry Lily

Eight: A sneaky spider moves its eight legs to navigate the cool wet leaves in the shade near the bog.

Nine: Visitors with nine packed lunches head to into the gardens to find an ideal place to stop for a picnic. Maybe a seat overlooking the Green Heron Pond?

Ten: A rare Appalachian Brown butterfly’s single gray wing is marked with ten tiny eye-like circles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAppalachian Brown

Can you continue the numbers-based observations? Can the young adventurers in your life (or within you!) inspire a new direction for your nature observations? Enjoy exploring and counting your way through the Arboretum gardens!

Sydney Chandler is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

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