A typical early spring flower is the catkin. Catkins are the common name for
the pendulous flowers of several different trees, Corylus (Hazel) and Alnus (Alder), to name but two. Corylus and Alnus are monoecious, bearing male and female
flowers on the same plant. The catkins themselves are the male pollen-bearing flowers. The female flowers are separate, and these produce the fruit later on.
Pictured below are three catkin-bearing plants. First, the lovely green-yellow catkins of Corylus avellana 'Contorta', the Contorted Hazel. Next, the
purple-tinged catkins of Corylus maxima purpurea, the Purple Hazel. Finally, the colourful catkins of Alnus glutinosa, the Alder. The catkins are quite a
dusky-purple colour as they begin to develop, but as they mature, they take on a colourful mixture of lime-green and maroon. The female fruit of this tree is
also highly decorative, being little groups of small, almost black cones, which dry well for use in flower arrangements. This is an excellent tree for damp
ground, as it prefers wet conditions and doesn't mind having its feet in water.