kiinošiši (White Walnut)

kiinošiši (White Walnut)
Mary Tippmann

What follows are recordings of student observations from kišiinkwia kiilhswa (July/August 2009) to cecaahkwa kiilhswa (April/May 2010).  Each student was asked to observe one feature (plant, tree, animal, celestial body, or weather phenomena) and its connections to other features.  In addition each student was asked to visually represent these connections by constructing a visual web.

niipinwi neehi teekwaaki (Summer and Fall)

The first connection would be to kiilhswa. The sun provides the energy for the tree to grow. The changing of summer to fall is first noticed by the shorter days of sunlight. That causes a change in the climate that initiates a change in the white walnut.  The white walnut stops growing its leaves which needs sunlight and sends the energy from the leaves to the rest of the tree for winter.

ciinkwia is also connected to kiinošiši. The rain provides the needed water for the tree to grow. As we mentioned in the class that last year there was a drought which affected many of the trees. Since I have not observed kiinošiši in the past I was unable to tell if that drought had affected this year’s quantity of nuts. Since the tree that I observed is in the formal gardens it was also being watered by the gardeners as well as ciinkwia.

Aayoonseekaahkwi was the tree most closely related to kiinošiši. Their English names black walnut and white walnut obviously convey a certain similarity. They both produced nuts at the same time. The outer casings were different; one was smooth and the other fuzzy and sticky. The nuts themselves as the class tasted where very different in flavor. Their leaves are different style they both began changing color and falling about the same time. From what I observed kiinošiši leaves started falling at the same time but ended about a week later but I was unable to explain why.

I do not know the myaamia word but I did observe some small larva like worms in the casing around the nuts that fell to the ground. They were not able however to eat their way through to the nut. Since they do not reach the nut I am not sure if they affect the kiinošiši in any way.

Circle representing the connections Mary observed in 2009

Click here to see the complete web created by all the students as well as the translations for all of the words on the circle.

pipoonwi neehi miloohkami (Winter and Spring)

The White Walnut tree is not very active in the late winter/very early spring months. It began budding at the end of March. The buds started lower on the tree and closer to the trunk than farther out on the limb at first. My guess would be that this is because during the winter months plants tend to store their nutrients in the roots and trunk of tree. As spring comes it sends out those nutrients to the rest of the tree. Those parts of the tree closer to the ground and trunk are the ones to receive the nutrients first and can start growing.

The tree did not have one side that grew fast than the other side of tree; even though in the fall it tended to loose more leaves from the south/west side before the east/north side of the tree. I would be interested to know when the Black Walnut tree started budding and if they saw the same results.

Often times one does not think about the connection at tree has to anything but the soil in which it is growing. When we take the time to look around we see that a single tree interacts and connects with so many different things one doesn’t even know where to begin. One thing the White Walnut tree is connected to is aayoonseekaahkwi (Black Walnut). The Black Walnut tree is obviously similar in it’s name to the White Walnut at least in English. They also share a similar budding pattern. They were one of the later trees in the spring to start budding. Their leaves come out in the same cluster type formations. In the fall they were also close in when leaves dropped so it was not a big surprise to find them following each other in the spring season.

One interaction among the White Walnut is with wildlife in the area. There are many birds and bugs that like to visit this tree.  Aanteekwa the crow is one of these birds that like to sit in the high branches. I have not witnessed the crow calling this place home but rather just a place to sit and rest awhile. The White Walnut that I watch does not have any nests in the tree yet but it will be interesting to see as the warmer it gets to see if any bird decides to make one there.

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