Flowers on Friday

Seen in February, on the Salix Caprea Pendula (Kilmarnock willow tree). Purple crocuses form the Impressionist background colour.

At the tail end of winter, fuzzy nubs start to appear along the branches of pussy willows. These soft silver tufts—as well as the plant itself—are named for their resemblance to tiny cats’ paws. They’re actually flowers just before they fully bloom. The soft hairs protecting them from the cold.  Only male plants produce the fuzzy flowers.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #34 | Close-up

Macro Monday #75

(click to enlarge to full size)

Flowers on the Salix Caprea Pendula / Kilmarnock willow  tree in March.

Even in full bloom, willow flowers hardly look like flowers at all. They have no petals or showy colours. Nor do they have any fragrance. Catkins or Pussy Willows usually don’t rely on pollinators to spread their pollen. Instead they simply release it into the wind, where it may or may not land on the female flower parts. In order to hit their targets, the catkins must produce a tremendous amount of pollen. (Wind-pollinated trees like these are the culprits of many a spring sneeze.)