Posted January 9, 2015
The answer to our holiday Freak of the Week was provided by Becky. Although we picked this because of its superficial resemblance to a pine cone, once the scale is evident you can see that it’s not a pine cone after all! (The scale is in square centimeters.)
These woody structures are actually catkins from a Speckled Alder, Alnus incana. This specimen was collected from our OHC site, Cedar Bog! These catkins are the female part of the alder. Once they have been pollinated, the catkins dry out and release tiny seeds in a similar way to a pine cone.
Nice job, Becky!