Catkins give a clue that spring is near

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Business Kent Update -

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

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