Sunday, 27 March 2011

Poplar Catkins

what promise do these buds hold?

1st march

I think they are a grey poplar... which is a hybrid of the white poplar & aspen, or perhaps they are white poplar, but i'm still a bit unsure in my identification. If any one can help confirm, or give specific differences between white & grey poplars, i'd be grateful! From everything I've read they seem very similar.

Little grey catkins beginning to emerge... at this stage they remind me of the pussy willow that is also out at the moment. It seems that the poplars are actually part of the willow family.  

While I was looking & taking pictures, 'bits' of something started falling around me... no, it wasn't starting to rain... catkins were raining down though, some whole ones & some small pieces...

There was no wind at all, & as they were only just starting to flower it was too soon for them to fall of their own accord. I scanned the branches above me & soon spotted the culprits...

Blue-tits were pecking away scattering catkins all over the place. They cheerfully ignored my presence & entertained me for quite a while with their acrobatics, spiralling around branches & hanging upside down to seek their prey!

The bark is quite grey and has some beautiful patterns of algae on it.... and the lower part of the trunk has  loads of diamond shaped fissures... a gorgeous texture!

 14th march

In a couple of weeks, the catkins have elongated... you can see the individual flowers that make up each catkin. On both white & grey poplars, the male flowers are red. The trees are dioecious, which means they have either male or female flowers on a single tree, not both.

All the trees in this group seem to be male... apparently this is not uncommon, female trees are much thinner on the ground and have green-ish yellow catkins. 


Rose said...

Don't you just love the first beautiful signs of life re-emerging? *happy sigh*

Jade L Blackwater said...

Birds are busy with the Red alder catkins out here too.

Lovely, lovely photos!

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