Last year shortly after the Hurricane of all Hurricanes the relentless Irene went through the area we spent several weekends cleaning up the debris. As well as cleaning up much of the tree damage my husband took the opportunity to cut back several of the Japanese Privet trees that had become overgrown and were beginning to interfere with my ability to a) hang out laundry and b) grow vegetables in my vegetable garden as they were blocking the sun.
The limbs were placed in a pile in an out-of-the-way place in order to be turned into mulch once my husband, you know, actually took the chipper/shredder I bought him out of the box. In any event, they lay there all winter and as I walked by them this weekend I saw something that totally blew my mind.
Here is a photo of one of those limbs, the cut end, not a single section of this limb has any contact with the soil, not a single tiny branch has any contact with the soil in order to feed the limb.
This is what I noticed when I walked by it. The limb is leafing out.
Now, let me be clear here, I followed the cut off limb from the base all the way to the leafing out branches and it was the same limb, there was not some odd optical illusion whereby a cut off limb was somehow tangled up with a growing plant, in fact at one point I picked up the cut off limb and waved it around in order to convince my DH that I was not in fact delusional.
I suppose if anything it is a clear indication that given the opportunity that a plant will do anything in order to survive, that the survival instinct is so strong, even in a “dead” branch that there is nothing that can overcome it. I was quite amazed.