Well, despite the gale like conditions, at least it was warm at Frances Slocum yesterday.
I’ve posted pics before of the male catkins of hazels before. They are large and easy to spot and were all puffed out and ready for duty yesterday.
. But I’ve never posted pics of the incredibly tiny female flowers. The flower bud is about the size of a pin head and a flaming, taunting redhead.
Both male and female flowers are on the same tree.
An interesting evolutionary question is what possible advantage can it be to the hazel tree to have a flower this small, making it harder to find and pollinate.… But that’s above my pay grade.
The male flowers (catkins) on the hazel trees have been growing since last autumn. But where are the girls: without female flowers there will be no nuts…
Now, in mid to late January, the male flowers are full size and opening out to release their pollen. Consequently, the much smaller, female flowers are appearing. You have to look closely to spot them: they’re just a wisp of red or cream peeking out from the tip of a bud. What you see is just a part of the flower, the styles, that will receive the pollen. The rest of the flower is inside the bud. The more female flowers there are, the more chance there is of a good crop of nuts at the end of the summer.