White Birch: Female Catkins
Spring 2003, Saddle Rock, Long Island

  At Saddle Rock, Long Island, the three plants that put on the best show a tad after the pussy willows are forsythia, red maple, and the birches. By the end of April, the white birch is particularly impressive. Caught in the sunlight, the male catkins looks like a golden rain; however, the female catkins, although much smaller, are quite pretty especially when viewed through a macro lens.

The following sequence of five female catkins show, from left to right, how the catkin emerges from its leafy bud: The female catkin springs upright and the two leaves open to either side of the catkin.

Growth cycle of female catkin of white birch
  The following photo, taken two days later and at the same tree, shows the intricate colors of the female catkin and the expanding leaves.
Female white birch catkin in all its glory
  There is also a larger silver birch nearby [which has subsequently been identified as a poplar]. It is somewhat behind the white birches in development, and I figure it should take about another week to see what its silver leaves unfurl.

Photo note: The photos were taken on 25 April and 27 April 2003, respectively, with a Pentax LX and the Voigtlander 125mm macro lens.

White birch: male catkins   |   Crocus 2003

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