There are tree flowers and tree fruits, tree nuts and seeds. The evergreen tree “flowers” are unique in their form, which reflects their form of pollination~ the pollen being carried on the spring breezes and gusts of wind. The pollen is held in tiny parcels, of which there are many, that spiral round the male strobile (see photo). Around the end of May these strobiles mature and open to release a tremendous ( Hmmm, tree-mendous?) amount of soft, silky grains of pollen that is blown about in every breeze.
We wash it off our car windows, notice it covering puddles in the street and the surface of ponds. Some may know the pollen as the culprit that triggers an allergy-like response that ends when the evergreens have finished their pollen dance, for a dance it is. The windborne pollen grains ride the air up to land on the tiny female cones, most of which emerge at the tops of the trees. Amazing to think of the billions of pollen grains a tree produces to be sure of the best pollination of the much smaller number of female cones.
Then again, in human procreation, there are quite a few sperm swimming up to find the one or two eggs awaiting fertilization!
Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of many books including The Vital Man, found in his research that both Black Pine and Scots Pine pollen had been studied in depth and that their pollen could be used to support the endocrine system, in providing the building blocks of testosterone. Please refer to Stephen’s book for further information on the pine pollen.
Several years ago we went out to gather the pollen from our local Scots Pine trees and were delighted to find the process quite engaging. The window of time is quite brief- only a few days each Spring, as the trees are in tune with each other and “bloom” at the same time.
This year we gathered as a team, our berry baskets at our sides, picking the strobiles that were at the correct maturity, talking and singing, or quietly tending to this sweet work. The trees gathered us into their embrace~ we noticed the spiral aspects of the trees, their circle of limbs, their fragrance and prickly needles. They felt protective and ancient. They felt like elders and friends. They are rich with essence in their pollen and presence. They shared their wealth in tiny grains of gold, and we are deeply grateful as we process this gold into plant medicine to help others enliven their own essence!