Catkins

Definition - What does Catkins mean?

In botany, catkins refer to clusters of wind-pollinated flowers with no petals. These flowers are often unisexual and are found in several plant families, including Salicaceae, Moraceae, Fagaceae and Betulaceae. Some shrubs and trees such as sweetfern, sweet chestnut, hickory, willow and birch also feature catkin-bearing plants. In most plants, catkins are only formed by male flowers, while female flowers form oaks, alders or hazels.

MaximumYield explains Catkins

In most countries, catkins start to appear on trees at the very start of spring. Some of the most common forms of catkins include:

  • Alder: Darker and knobbier in appearance, these catkins are normally the first to pollinate in early spring. Alters are often found next to clusters of female flowers and are suspended from twig tips.
  • Hazel: These catkins are quite distinguishable due to their golden-yellow tinge. Normally found on bare twigs, hazel catkins also release puffs of golden-colored pollen that are specifically destined for female flowers.
  • Salix caprea: These particular catkins have both female and male trees. Female catkins can be distinguished by their green tinge and spiky texture, while male ones have a golden stem. Both these catkins secrete nectar for insect pollination in the spring.
  • White poplar: Also known as Populus alba, these catkins are very fragile and are often dislodged from their trees. They tend to be reddish in appearance and are located at the very top of their tree.
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