|Weeping Willow in wind|
Catkins are among the earliest blooming flowers, because (as I mentioned in a previous post, News for the Greenery-Starved Folks) they rely on the wind that comes through bare branches to spread their pollen, instead of relying primarily on insect pollinators that have not yet emerged.
Flowers clustered on the pendant tassels have no petals, and often bear only male organs (anthers with pollen on them), which become highly visible on willow catkins as they open up. Female flowers may become seed-storing cones, as on some Alders, or develop fluffy seeds, as on some aspen.
For small spaces: Garrya elliptica (Silk Tassel Bush), Nettle/ Coleus (Yes, some herbacious plants have catkins too!), Salix gracilistyla (Black Pussy Willow)
|The sunlight (and all the rain we've been having) is helping these pussy willows open up.|
|The Balsam Poplar has fuzzy red catkins and buds that smell like balsam.|
|These male Alder (Alnus maximowiczii) flowers are waiting with pollen exposed for the wind to cross their path.|
Alnus sieboldiana (Japanese Green Alder)
|This Hazel Alder (Alnus serrulata) bears male catkins in threesomes alongside threesomes of female flower clusters.|
|A Common Hazel in the woods bears bright pink, single female flowers to receive pollen from the male catkins below.|