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Word of the Week: Catkin
June 06, 2018 by Sammy Tangir

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Wednesday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Left: The catkins of an Eastern cottonwood tree opening to reveal the fluff that the seeds will use to spread by wind. Right: The catkin of a pussy willow, one of the few catkins that are insect-pollinated. (Photo: Andrew Yee)

Catkin [kat-kin] (noun): A thin, cylindrical cluster of flowers produced by some trees.

All trees bear seeds, and many produce them with the help of flowers! Some, like the cherry blossoms in High Park, are very showy, but that is not the case for all trees. Oak, willow, alder, birch and poplar are some of the trees you can find around Toronto with flowers in the form of catkins. 

Catkins are inconspicuous. They often lack visible petals as most rely on wind pollination, and thus don't usually need to attract pollinators 

Sammy Tangir - Sammy is a serious nature nerd and especially enthusiastic about plants! When she is not thinking of next week's nature word, she is working as an outdoor educator and practicing her wood carving skills.

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