An elongated cluster of single-sex flowers bearing bracts by which pollination occurs.
Well, that’s a dry definition from Webster’s that doesn’t begin to describe the fascinating beauty of one of nature’s wonders.
Some of our catkins at Marin Art and Garden Center can be found on ribes, Big Leaf Maples, and Garrya. Locally, they can also be found on poplar, birch, hazels, itea, alder and mulberry.
I always pause to behold a catkin. I marvel at how woody branches produce such symmetrical, colorful displays. It is the nature of such trees and plants, and it is my nature to observe and appreciate.
The word itself is derived from the Dutch word katteken, which describes the similarity to a cat’s tail. Another, lesser-used word for catkin is ament, meaning “strap” or “thong” in Latin.
Catkins rely on the wind to transport pollen from male to female catkins or flowers.
Big Leaf Maple