Saturday, May 1, 2010

Science Sunday/Coast Rhododendron

Washington’s State flower is the Coast Rhododendron. We have two bushes, well one is a tree in our yard. The smaller one that sits in the front of our house always blooms first and will bloom again at the end of summer. The larger one that sits towards the back of the house only gets one bloom about mid summer.

100_2492 We went out and clipped off one of the buds from the larger rhododendron to investigate it’s make-up.

100_2668 Selena identified the leaves, but called the bud a pineapple. I explained that this was not a pineapple but a bud off our rhododendron, or flower tree. I had her go look at the rhododendron again, so she would realize that this was not a pineapple.

Selena observed that the leaves were quite tough and hard to pull off the bud. We did however get them removed. We then started dissecting the bud itself.



Selena made the observation that the first peelings that came off were sticky, and we discussed that they were in fact like leaves, and yes, sticky. The sticky is another form of protection for the flowers.

100_2676 100_2677 Selena truly did not expect to find actual flowers inside and squealed with excitement when this small red part was revealed.

100_2678 We then found seeds! I wondered what those black things were myself. We got 4 seeds total out of this one bud.

100_2685Minus the seeds that did not get in the picture, here is everything we got off our Rhododendron Bud. Selena also learned that the smell and sticky of the bud made Mama sneeze. I had to explain to her at that point what hay fever is.

After we finished this, and I went out to dispose of the scraps from our project, something caught my eye. I looked up to discover 4 young bald eagles soaring over head. They are still young enough they do not have the white heads yet. We are guessing they might be the eaglets from last year. Selena was pretty excited to be rushed out side to get to see them.


For more Sunday Science ideas go on over to Adventures in Mommydum.

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  1. What a great way to explore flowers. The seeds were a surprise to me also. I love this post.

  2. How exciting to see the eagles - they are always so impressive to watch.

    I love the investigation of the rhododendron - very brave indeed, with hay fever!

  3. I really like your hands-on approach, and Selena gets to learn about something in her backyard. You are very creative in finding something that will interest her.

  4. I've seen flowers similar to that with the sticky outside, because I remember getting so sticky.

    What a wonderful exploration, did she freak out at getting sticky? Mine would.