Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today's flowers - Catkins

It's getting harder to find any blooms out and about now, as Winter closes in.  I did come across these catkins in an Edinburgh garden a fortnight ago..  I am fairly sure they are immature male alder catkins, but I was in a bit of a hurry and I neglected to take a leaf sample to check out against my tree spotting book. Could be birch, but as it is the same family I won't worry too much.  If anyone can identify them for sure then I would be grateful.
Technically the male catkin is a flower cluster with no petals and they pollinate the female flowers by wind dispersal.  They look like caterpillars hanging on to that twig, but by spring they should be laden with pollen and ready to do their stuff - something to look forward to!
See more flowers from all the world's seasons at Todays Flowers.


  1. Could that be a Male Hazel catkins (Corylus avellana)? Very interesting photo.

  2. Great picture!!
    Your Hazel catkins are beautiful.
    The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31."
    We expect snow today and the garden will be covered with a white blanket.
    - Cheers from Canada.

  3. Hello,

    The glossy ovate leaves makes me think it could be Garrya elliptica. It flowers from december through to February making a tall bushy shrub. On mature specimens the catkin like flowers reach up to 20cm.

  4. Thanks everyone. I had ruled out hazel as an option, can't recall why now. I also don't remeber seeing any alder cones on he tree so...
    Paul - yes it was the leaves that had me puzzled as from my photo, they didn't look birchy or hazely.
    Thanks for that.

  5. Next time I see someone taking a furtive photo of an Edinburgh garden I'll know it's you!

  6. I have just found this old post - I don't know whether you view comments from so long ago. However, those catkins are definitely Garrya Elliptica as per Paul-Hervey-Brookes. I have one in my garden. I enjoy your Croft adventures.....Rosemary

  7. Rosemary - thank you for your comment and confirmation. it did puzzle me. Thanks for reading our now very different adventures too.
    Quite funny to see my old profile pic again. xx


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