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Word of the Week: Panicle

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Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Panicle [PAN-i-kuh l] (botany noun): A loose branching cluster of flowers

Panicles are recognized as much-branched inflorescence, meaning that there are multiple branches and each hosts a small bunches of flowers at the end of each stem. This is different from spike inflorescence plants which have one flower for each stem, for instance cherry blossoms.

In High Park, Summer is the season where we notice that panicles of showy flowers are starting to appear on the Catalpa Trees.

Catalpa Trees have a way of almost immediately capturing the attention of everyone who comes to visit the park.

These trees are easily recognizable thanks to their large intricate twisted trunks that wind and curl into branches which hold long bean shaped seed pods as well as giant heart shaped leaves that are bigger than most people’s faces!

This time of year, the beautiful white flowers that grow on the catalpas branches are just another thing from this tree that is catching people’s eye. These flowers grow in large bunches, which slightly resemble orchids.

Next time you are taking a walk through the park look up and take a look around for small clusters of white flowers in trees. Make sure you take a look on the ground as well because these flowers often fall to the ground, inviting you to get a closer look.