Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 11: Evil Tree Seed Pods

Early in our tenure in Sacto, I went out for a run one weekend morning and encountered an abundance of brown spiky spheres on the sidewalk that I didn't recognize:

I thought these little pods would be hollow, light, flaky, and easily crushed if stepped on directly.  Um... big mistake.  I landed directly on top of one of them and encountered a hard and unyielding presence that resulted in a strained ankle, which put me out of running commission for several weeks and caused me to miss participating in the Shamrock'n 1/2 Marathon that year.

After that incident, I came to think of these as the "evil tree seed pods," and every year when they reappear in Spring, I'm very cautious and careful about negotiating around them on the sidewalk, whether I'm on foot or bike.

I looked them up today and discovered that they are the fruit of the Sweetgum Tree, which apparently is very common around downtown Sac:

I find the shape of the leaves to be quite similar to those of a maple, but according to the web site that provided the image, "The sweetgum has star shaped leaves." 

(Oddly enough, that image is from the Harvard Yard Tree website!!!  I guess these trees aren't necessarily native to California, although I certainly don't remember ever seeing those evil seed pods in as I was growing up south of Boston or completing my undergrad in Connecticut).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps as the trees migrated west and survived Death Valley, they became the evil pods they are today. In Mass, they are still sweet "Sweetgum".... Mr. E!

7:25 AM  

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