It’s raining birch seeds

It’s warm and dry today with no rain forecast, but in the garden there is a constant pitter-patter amongst the trees. It’s the sound of birch seeds falling – helped along by goldfinches and siskins who are tugging at the catkins to pull out the seeds.

Through the canopy, a constant stream of tiny birch seeds are falling down.
Through the canopy, a constant stream of tiny birch seeds are falling down.

A birch seed on a (well eaten) hazel leaf. The seeds are tiny with little wings on either side.
A birch seed on a (well eaten) hazel leaf. The seeds are tiny with little wings on either side. This one is still attached to a scale from the catkin because a bird pulled it off.

The female catkins that the seeds are falling from started to grow in early spring.

The little female catkin is just opening and pointing upwards; the male catkins are hanging down
This was back in April: the little female catkins were just opening and pointing upwards; the male catkins are hanging down

The male catkins (for next year) are just beginning to grow now and they will stand through the whole winter growing very very slowly until the spring. Then they suddenly put on a huge spurt of growth ready to shed their pollen as the female catkins emerge.

Now the tables have turned: the female catkins are plump and full of seeds, they dangle down; at the same time, the new male catkins are just starting to show at the tips of the branches.
Now it’s July and the female catkins are plump and full of seeds, they dangle down; at the same time, the new male catkins are just starting to show at the tips of the branches (to the left of the female catkin in this picture).

Birches are one of my favourite trees: they look beautiful all year round; they sound lovely when a breeze blows through them; they seem to always be busy growing;  and at the end of the day, they make lovely firewood too.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s