Monday, March 05, 2007

Willow Catkin

Click on photo to enlarge

I like these kind of twigs a lot. In German they are called "Palmkätzchen" and literally translated it means "palm tree kittens".
For me they are a very strong indicator for the spring.

As a child I even liked the name. I can remember that for me the little catkins really looked like little kittens with grey fur and sometimes I created little cat families out of them.

Sometimes language is poetic just by giving things names, isn't it?

I shot these twigs on a farmer's market in Fürth. The owner of the booth was an old man with a furrowed face. He saw me taking photographs and stepped by. Instantly I thought he was about to throw me off his booth. This wouldn't be unusual. But it was quite the contrary: He said in a funny Franconian accent "Hey, follow me. I'll show you some twigs that are even more beautiful".
An old man that love twigs can't be a bad person, can he?

Oh, that's what he showed me:

I'm not absolutely sure whether willow catkin is the correct English name. Hints are appreciated.


  1. Very springlike pictures. And your thinking about poetry in language reminds me to a post of sunfleckr(

  2. I loved the catkins also very much as a child. It's a romantic association with the village and the stories of my Grandma. The willow catkins are indeed the first and sweetest catkins of the year, but there are even other. Later in the spring gives it still yellow cats. I forgot, if they are also willows or maybe an other tree. In addition there is a grass in the late summer, that looks as "bunny caudaly" (Hasenschwänzchen). That is almost as beautiful as the willow catkins are. At the same time the "boogeyman" or "bogyman" (Butzemännchen not Schwarzer Mann!) increase. Those ones are wine-red to brown and they have in the wind varying souls.

  3. Very beautiful picture. In the United States we call those "pussy willows". Pussy short for "pussy cat".