Trees feed my sense of wonder while they provide shade, beauty, inspiration or a snack. Often I walk by certain trees and do not take notice, then later see their charm and beauty. The primrose tree on the west side of the baseball field in is one of those.
For almost two months the primrose tree has been covered with pinkish-purple blossoms. The five triangular petals and the protruding yellow stamens are exquisite up close, and, from a distance, contribute to the pinkish glow on the tree.
Its upper branches touch an arm of the the neighboring Monterey pine, I call To the west is an even taller tree, the giant Sequoia. To the north is the sweet gum. Together their branches intertwine as the leaves and needles quiver in the afternoon breeze. Blue sky peeks through the various shades of green.
Loose, rust-colored pine needles dangle next to the blossoms on the primrose tree. Below the tree is a colorful mix of pink primrose flowers with leaves and needles from the neighboring trees. And underground I imagine their roots twisting around each other while sharing the moisture and nutrients of the soil.
The primrose tree is an evergreen, native to Norfolk Island, which is part of the Commonwealth of Australia and east of Australia and north of New Zealand. Of interest is another island native, the unique Norfolk Island Pine.
In the scientific name, Lagunaea patersonii, the species name honors Colonel William Paterson, who served on Norfolk Island between 1791 and 1793. He collected botanical specimens and was the first to send the bright orange bean-shaped seeds of the primrose tree back to England.
The seed pods open facing downward to release the seeds, surrounded by scratchy bristles. In September, the primrose tree has both the blossoms and seed pods in varying stages of maturation.
Flower arrangers use the brown seed capsules, but must handle them with care, because the fuzzy insides can be a skin irritant.
Note: If you have a Norfolk Island Pine, I’d like to photograph it and write about it. Let me know in the comments below.