Between the downpours of rain, it’s wonderful to discover what February brings to light.
Along the roadside near our house, leafless trees reach out among the evergreens. I found several hazel trees there and brought home a small branch to examine more closely. To my delight, the male catkins opened a few days later and spilled out their lovely golden yellow pollen. The female flowers of the tree contain tiny, bright red stigmas which peek out from their bud-like ovary–no petals. Hazel, Corylus avellana, is on the early spring list in Dorothy Hodges book, The Pollen Loads of the Honeybee. I’m still obsessed with Hodges’ book and her work and continue to explore and learn more about the plants and the pollen she’s included in this amazing work.
My neighbors have a curly hazel in their yard, a Corylus avellana contorta, also known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. The wonderful red female flowers are clearly visible here, along with the male catkins, still wet with raindrops.