In Appreciation of Catkins

Catkin (noun)


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.

English oak


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

More to explore

IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center