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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Lambs Tails...

... or hazel catkins, if you prefer! As a child I always looked out for 'lambs-tails' and hoped to be the first to spot them... what type of tree was irrelevant then. We may have a way to go before Spring arrives, but catkins dancing on the breeze are such a refreshing sight at this time of year... flashes of yellow in an often bleak or dreary time of year in England... 


These are the male flowers of the hazel, usually the first tree flowers to burst out with colour. 
I was lucky enough to catch them on a sunny morning, which is rare at the moment.


I'd hoped to catch them before they burst out & see the first ones, 
but they have progressed at a great rate in the couple of weeks we were away. 
The baby catkins have been on the trees since last year...
 toughened up for winter & waiting 'til the time was right, 
each one like a little chrysalis.


There are plenty more still to open.... 
there is a wide variety of stages to be seen on one tree, 
from new buds to old husks that held last years hazelnuts...


I can't resist them... 
like bunches of golden caterpillars, 
basking in sunlight on their way to becoming butterflies...


The stamens of the male flowers are starting to unfurl outwards,
and soon will be releasing clouds of pollen... 


Look a little closer... 
see that little red tuft emerging from it's own special bud?

These are the female flowers... pollinated by the wind. 
Successful fertilisation only occurs from other trees,
a single tree cannot pollinate itself.


Gorgeous aren't they? And so easy to overlook.
From these will grow the fruit... the hazelnuts.
I look forward to seeing them grow.


The March edition of The Festival of Trees will be hosted by
so if you have a tree-related post of any kind
why not send her your link to include in this wonderful monthly tree-fest?


4 comments:

Barry said...

S-exquisite photos of the brilliant female flowers - the light through them gives such a bursting sense of life. B

writingsfromwildsoul said...

I love the Hazel catkins. We don't have Hazel Trees in my part of the world and I am captivated by the ancient myths around them. Beautiful photos. The tiny red flowers like blood from inside the stem. Such a powerful symbol of life emerging.

Forest Keeper said...

I love this time of year so much. No matter how many times I witness it, the unfolding of new life fascinates me. Watching for the first signs of the new year is always exciting.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos with us.

Elizabeth said...

This inspires me to pay more attention to catkins form now on. Lovely photos.

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