i love catkin season, when the trees festoon themselves with dangling tassels weeks before the leaves show up to obscure everything. it so symbolic of spring for me–nature’s very own spring fling. walking my beloved trails this time of year is like walking into a familiar room that has suddenly been decorated for a party. the word catkin is a loanword from the middle dutch katteken, meaning “kitten”. this name is due either to the resemblance of the lengthy sorts of catkins to a kitten’s tail, or, in the case of willows, to the fine fur found on some catkins (e.g. pussywillow).
alder catkins (male)