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Hazel: The ultimate early bloomer

Male hazel catkins

The male hazel flowers are opening up, both on wild hazelnuts and on the hybrids in our yard. Finally, a good source of pollen for the honeybees who have been unusually busy during this warm winter weather!

Hybrid hazel budThe bush pictured at the top of this post is an unnamed hybrid from the Arbor Day Foundation. But, in the background, next generation named hybrids look like they might produce female flowers this year.

It's unusual for a plant to commit to female flowers before it makes the energetically cheaper males. But when I dissected one of the plump pink buds on the catkin-less plants I'm pretty sure I found stigmas (female flower parts) buried deep inside. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what these buds turn into. Maybe tasty nuts with thinner shells?

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