Montana Outdoors

March 14, 2012

Catkins

Filed under: Spring — Tags: — montucky @ 3:12 pm

Another sure sign that spring is here! These are catkins from a black cottonwood, I believe.

Catkins

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78 Comments »

  1. Beautiful! I’ll take any sign that spring is coming–saw my first sagebrush buttercups of the year last week.

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    Comment by aarontheisen — March 14, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    • Well, we’re getting there, Aaron. There seems to be a relapse here at the moment, but the pussy willows and other catkins are starting now.

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  2. What else has these? I think I took a shot of some yesterday. I thought they were pussy willows, but they were at the top of 10 foot skinny brown trees. I just posted them on Flickr.

    Our last willow bushes were dozed that summer when the field was cleared.

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    Comment by sandy — March 14, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    • There are a lot of species that have catkins. It seems to be common usage to call them “pussy willows” when they are on willows and there are lots of different willow species in the genus “salix”. We have 24 species of them here. Poplar, cottonwood, birch, alder and aspen are other trees/shrubs here that have catkins in this area and I’m sure there are many more..

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

      • Thanks, I will bet this are poplar.

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        Comment by sandy — March 20, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  3. sooooo pretty. thank you.

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    Comment by Anonymous — March 14, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  4. Wonderful and beautiful! Blessings, Ellen

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    Comment by Ellen Grace Olinger — March 14, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    • Thanks Ellen! They are indeed wonderful signs of spring!

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

  5. In Wisconsin, I always think of catkins as the first true sign of spring. I love catkins, I love their name, too. Haven’t seen any catkins in Arizona, though. Haven’t been to any sky islands lately — maybe up on top…

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    Comment by Bo Mackison — March 14, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    • I remember there were willows along some of the desert streams but I don’t remember seeing pussy willows there. There are also cottonwoods around and I know they have catkins, but I don’t remember when they would be out down there.

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

  6. Nice Macro Shot!

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    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — March 14, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  7. I love these! I used to see them all the time when I was younger in the midwest but never here in AZ. I always referred to them as pussy willows, too.

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    Comment by Candace — March 14, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    • For some reason I just can’t remember seeing them down there, but there must be some. Perhaps along the Gila?

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

  8. We had pussy willows in Iowa, too. They were so soft and silky, and with forsythia were a true sign that spring was on the way. We always had a few cut branches in the house – I still have the vase Mother preferred for them. Unfortunately, no pussy willows to cut in coastal Texas! This is a beautiful shot – it makes up for not having the real thing.

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    Comment by shoreacres — March 14, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    • They were a spring favorite when I brought them home for my mother. Now in springtime, I always cut a few branches for my wife to enjoy. Despite how wintery our weather may be here this time of year, they make it feel like spring.

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  9. Wow…soooooo pretty!

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    Comment by seekraz — March 14, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    • They are a pretty sight after the worst of winter is past!

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

      • Yes, they are…and such a crisp and finely detailed photo, too.

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        Comment by seekraz — March 15, 2012 @ 6:33 am

  10. lovely
    you are ahead of us with Spring.

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    Comment by Tammie — March 14, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    • Our spring seems to be like our winter was; in bits and pieces, some here and others there. A few buttercups on an isolated ridge and nowhere else, a single Crocus that lasted only a few days and no others… but the catkins will anchor our spring.

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      Comment by montucky — March 14, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

  11. What a tender site! lovely.

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    Comment by Tammy — March 14, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

    • They have their own special little place in the process of spring, don’t they!

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  12. I love these furry catkins! Can’t wait until they start appearing here too.

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    Comment by Jo Woolf — March 15, 2012 @ 1:22 am

    • I have enjoyed them for so many years: spring would not be the same without them!

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  13. Lovely catkins!

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    Comment by Cornel Apostol — March 15, 2012 @ 8:15 am

  14. Ooooo, I love those! I’ve never heard them called catkins, but I like that name. They’re so soft and fuzzy and furry just like a cat’s paw. Around here we call them pussy willows too.

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    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — March 15, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    • The usage of common names is interesting in itself. I think the term “catkin” is more generic, and pussy willows are a refinement encompassing the willows only, their genus being “Salix”.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  15. Spring? We got summer here…temps in the 70’s AND 80’s over the next week. Beautiful image, excellent composition and control of DoF.

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    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — March 15, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    • Thanks Scott! I cheated with this “close-up”: it was taken from a distance of about 10 feet with a 300mm lens. Our temps now are just where I like them; nights in the 20’s and days in the 40’s and 50’s.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  16. I’ve always loved these and didn’t know there were different kinds. Thanks for the “edumacation” Terry! πŸ˜€

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    Comment by Barbara — March 15, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    • They would be an interesting study. The ones in the photo are the beginning and then they progress into actual tiny blossoms and while most look similar in this stage, the different species diversify as they mature.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  17. Beautiful and simple capture with detail. I really, really like this! πŸ™‚

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    Comment by Anna Surface — March 15, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    • Thanks Anna. This was an unusual shot, but it came out the way I hoped. The green tinge in the background is from the needles of a pine that stood overhead and behind the little cottonwood.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

  18. Nice photo, but aren’t they “pussy willows?”

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    Comment by Kim — March 15, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

    • I am not trained in botany, Kim, but I tend to use “pussy willow” for the catkins of the willows, genus “Salix” (of which there are about 24 species in our area), and these in the photo are cottonwood, genus “Populus”. I think common usage is typically “pussy willow” though.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  19. Beautiful! Our cottonwoods are no where near blooming, but it will be near 60 next week so who knows? Nice to be reminded of spring!

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    Comment by WildBill — March 15, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    • These just started in the last few days with willows and cottonwoods. The aspens haven’t begun to form yet.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  20. Hi Montucky, You are very masterful at the art of shooting macro pictures, if I do say so. You can however, keep that Cottonwood. I am highly allergic to ’em! Have a wonderful Friday tomorrow!

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    Comment by wildlifewatcher — March 15, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    • Thank you! This photo was actually taken at a range of about 10 feet using a 300mm lens on a tripod (rare for me). That would be a tough allergy for anyone to have here where there are lots of cottonwoods!

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  21. Very pretty! (Another thing we don’t seem to have here in TX)

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    Comment by TheDailyClick — March 15, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    • It must be an adaptation for trees and shrubs in a colder climate. I see that there are several willow species native to Texas, but I can’t remember seeing catkins in Arizona either.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  22. Happy catkins to you: spring can’t be far away now, so I hope you don’t get too many more hard freezes.

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    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — March 15, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

    • We’ll most likely have many freezes between now and summer, but the native species are used to them. Far too soon to plant domestic plants though. A local rule of thumb is to not plant tender plants until the snow is gone from a large heart-shaped rockslide on a tall mountain near here. Right now there is about 15 feet of snow still on it.

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      Comment by montucky — March 15, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  23. As a photo, Your photo is very artistic. I love how You treated light handling in the photo. Also the details of catkin are very sharp. Well done!

    About our climate, we had only two “warm” days and on one day the maximum temperature was 8 ΒΊC / 46.4 ΒΊF. Thus, the spring has not made much progress in the last 7 days, but here is yet hope.

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    Comment by Sartenada — March 16, 2012 @ 12:55 am

    • Thanks Matti! Getting the exposure correct is quite difficult on these!

      I think we are warmer overall here than you are, but we had snow yesterday and the daily highs have been only in the 40’s (F). By next weekend though, we should see temperatures in the 50’s and possibly even the 60’s.

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      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  24. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those up close, but it sure is pretty!

    Thank you for including my nephew, Landon, in your prayers… very much appreciated! =)

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    Comment by Tricia — March 16, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    • Yes they are pretty and a sure sign of spring here. I hope Landon is doing much better!

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      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  25. those are kind of cute! I am always glad for signs of spring!

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    Comment by skouba — March 16, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    • We have small signs of the weather changing now, but still snow and cold nights. It will probably change quickly now.

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      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  26. I saw my first bush of these yesterday … it took a deep, wet ditch to prevent me from cutting some. They are a great sign of Spring .. thanks for your excellent picture.

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    Comment by bearyweather — March 18, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    • I can’t resist having a few in the house this time of year, and my wife appreciates the small bouquets.

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      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  27. Beautiful. I’d love to see something like that. I always take pictures of the first buds of anything I can get.

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    Comment by Ratty — March 18, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    • It’s fun to find the first ones each spring and I always take pictures too. A few of our other trees are starting to show buds now too.

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      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  28. If those catskins don’t look like little critters, I’ll eat my hat. Fine photo. It’s just awesome what nature does to bring out the Spring.

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    Comment by Jack Matthews — March 18, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

    • That sure does look like fur to me too. I don’t understand the survival strategy there, but it must work! They have advanced since the photo was taken and now there are tiny flowers coming out of the fur.

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      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

  29. A few more hours and it will be official…spring is here!!! Wonderful photo Montucky…the catkins really stand out against the background!!

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    Comment by dhphotosite — March 19, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    • Well, our spring began with a little rain and up to 5 inches of snow if forecast for tonight. It might be a short summer this year here.

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      Comment by montucky — March 20, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  30. Love it Terry !!

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    Comment by Bernie Kasper — March 19, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  31. I’ve never seen catkins on anything except a pussy willow… thanks for again showing me something new! πŸ™‚

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    Comment by kcjewel — March 19, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    • Some get very large. I’m anxious to see them on the Aspen, but we’ve lapsed back into winter again so it will be awhile yet here.

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      Comment by montucky — March 20, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  32. Lovely! Here we seem to have skipped right over early spring–the past week has given us temps in the 80’s every single day and trees are leafing out and lots of flowers blooming. It is quite crazy and all happening a little to fast for me!

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    Comment by kateri — March 21, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    • For the second morning in a row, there was an inch of new snow on the ground today. I think spring and summer will arrive her at the same time this year.

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      Comment by montucky — March 22, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  33. I know some people dislike conttonwoods as too common; people say the same thing about Florida’s scrub oak. Both are very handy trees. I’ve always loved black cottonwoods, so it’s nice to see this spring picture.

    Malcolm

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    Comment by knightofswords — March 22, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    • There are just enough cottonwoods here to be enjoyable, confined mostly to the lower elevations, but refreshing when one is found in a higher canyon. Cottonwoods are wonderful for the wild critters which lasts far past their death.

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      Comment by montucky — March 22, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  34. Simply stunning!! I can feel the fuzzy softness. And – yes – spring does seem to have arrived on our doorstep…and just in time!

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    Comment by Marcie — March 24, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    • Well, we thought spring was about here but it seems to have been postponed again. More snow, cold and rain. The catkins are doing well though through it all!

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      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  35. Beautiful photo!

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    Comment by Watching Seasons — March 25, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  36. Beautiful! I love the detail in this. They look so soft and delicate.

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    Comment by Fergiemoto — March 28, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  37. they are beautiful πŸ™‚ i just took a pic of those the other day and they brought up all kind of childhood memories….you have beautiful pictures here.

    Like

    Comment by giannina — March 28, 2012 @ 1:26 pm


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