D C ROBINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY D C ROBINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Goat willow catkins. Flower clusters (catkins) on a goat willow (Salix caprea) tree. A catkin is a cluster of flowers forming a spike-like structure. The small flowers do not have petals and will be either all male or all female. They go through various stages in the flowering season. The male catkins release pollen which fertilizes the female catkins to form seeds. The seeds are hairy, giving the catkins a silvery-grey, bushy appearance, and are scattered by the wind to form new willow trees.
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