Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Nectar from the sky

Last June we met a guy named Doug Elliott who told us about drinking nectar from tulip poplar trees. They produce more nectar than any other plant in North America, at about a third of a teaspoon per flower. We had often noticed the lovely flowers of this tree -- but usually only once they've fallen to the ground, because they grow high up in the trees.

Doug told us about the nectar after the flowers were done producing last year, and we pretty much forgot about it until this week, when we were out walking in Rock Creek Park. There were droplets on some spicebush leaves and we thought, that can't be dew -- it's 3:00 on a sunny afternoon! We looked up, and sure enough, there was a tulip tree rising high above. So we gave it a tentative taste. Wow! Pure concentrated sweetness. We spent the rest of the afternoon with our eyes open for droplets on low-down leaves. And when we came to the knocked-down tulip tree that we've been using as a bridge across Rock Creek, sure enough, there were flowers with droplets of nectar in them.