Catkins give a clue that spring is near
Idrove up to Ashford the other day to give a short talk and the road verges were full of hazel trees decorated with the numerous hanging catkins – which is a sure sign of spring. I have been coming across catkins of the hazel tree since Christmas as our winters appear to be getting milder, wetter and more unsettled. The catkins you see on the hazel tree are the male flowers and in each male catkin there is around 240 small flowers. Hazel trees are what we call monoecious which means they hold separate male and female flowers on the same tree or bush. The female flowers are tiny – if you look carefully on the same branches they are the small red projections from a bud, which might be only millimetres long. You might see bees in the early spring foraging on hazel catkins as they gather vital supplies themselves. Hazel trees are wind pollinated and need the pollen from the male catkins to connect with the female flowers and this then produces the hazelnut later in the season. Spring is approaching!
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk