Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who knew ID would be so hard?

I took this early-morning, clear-day photo of a red squirrel chowing down on bright red catkins on the shore of Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park. I decided it would behoove me to identify the particular tree that produces these striking deep red flowers, and have had the darnedest time doing it. I've even asked one of the Park's naturalists; she and her colleague think it may be a thin leafed alder. Another Park staffer thinks it is a cottonwood (type unknown). It does appear on Googling "red catkin" images that it is a member of the Populus family (laurels, cottonwoods, poplars, and aspens) but I can't nail it for certain and I guess no one else can absent a good view of the trunk/bark and leaves. If you know, please tell me!

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