Thursday, March 26, 2009

AKA Monkey Balls

The tree is called Liquid Amber, or liquidambar styraciflua if Wikipedia's got it right. The pod is everywhere in so-Cal this time of year. You don't want your soft, bare foot to meet up with it. Boz navigates around these, carefully avoiding them with his delicate peds.

I saw a young woman gathering them the other day, and it triggered a memory from when I first moved here; I collected a batch and put them in a colorful bowl on the table in my apartment. To someone newly transplanted from Chicago, they were a fanciful arrangement in the sunny month of March.

21 comments:

J+P said...

If it were 1970, my mom would collect a handfulla these here, spraypaint 'em Harvest Gold, plunk 'em into her pale aqua vase and go back to watching Merv on WMAQ.

USelaine said...

We had a big one of these in our backyard in Downey. Even before I read your text, I remembered the same thing about bare feet and those seed pods. But the autumn colors of the leaves are spectacular, as is the strength of their roots to hurl concrete.

Laurie said...

My little girl likes to break the stems off and kick them down the sidewalk.

My word verification is winglym. That really should be an actual word!

altadenahiker said...

These winglyms are a very successful way to transport seeds, apparently, because the seedlings pop up everywhere.

Margaret said...

Are they really called monkey balls? I never knew.

Petrea said...

J+P, I'll bet your mom was too busy for TV. She had her hands full with you.

They're beautiful trees, Elaine, that's the truth.

See, Laurie, Karin has found a good use for it. Makes total sense, too.

Neither did I, Margaret. The things you learn on Wikipedia!

maria said...

funny....monkey balls.

Vanda said...

They remind me of the horse chestnuts I was growing up with. They were everywhere. I miss them.

My wv is cupeezy.

cieldequimper said...

Your photo is so perfect, I love the background too!

J+P said...

[Monkeyballs] is the official disease of [the San Diego Zoo.]—G.Carlin, RIP

marley said...

A bowl of monkey balls?! Sounds like one of my comments on Zen Monday! Lol :)

Christie said...

I've never seen anything like this before--cool! But they do look rather nasty for bare feet.

J+P said...

Not to mention for the monkey.

—OOPS, I can hear Petrea coming—

Ms M said...

I've seen them here in Boise, but never knew they were called monkey balls! Learn something new every day :>)

Petrea said...

I'm gonna quit it with the cheap titles. I figured I'd get thousands of sleazy comments but I only got two and they were both from my husband.

Desiree said...

Intriguing title
Great photo!

Shell Sherree said...

Sorry, Petrea, I'm very tardy but when I saw your post was about Monkey Balls, how could I not look??? They look like scratchy little things, but kind of fetching. I'd put some in a vase or dish, too - at least once, that is, depending on the willingness of the monkeys. {Um, make that "Sorry" a double, Petrea.}

Virginia said...

I think we call them sweet gum balls. I'm not sure about that. Harvest gold huh? I just had a flashback to my entire house in the 70's! Scary

I gotta meet John. I think he might be what we call "a mess!"

elizabeth said...

we called them sweet gums, too. Good for cat toys, kicking on your way home from school, or throwing at your brother.

Don't tell mom about that last one.

Petrea said...

Virginia, I may have to ask you to define "mess."

Kathy H said...

Great reminder that what we consider commonplace can be exotic for others. I just finished the book "Noodling for Flatheads," and the author noted that his mother, who was from England, considered raccoons to be in the same exotic category as koala bears.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Great seeing you today!!