Last week I managed to capture one of natures little secrets. I say secret, its actually very obvious when you stop and look closely – that is the female flowers of many trees. If you can see catkins, the male flowers, the chances are the female flowers will be there somewhere too. Often much smaller, but in the case of Corylus avellana (Hazel) they are a brilliant pink.
When I was studying, our tutor Sue had lots of little tips for helping to identify plants, in the case of Alder (Aluns glutinosa) it was the female flowers which she said always reminded her of little bottle stoppers, aside from the fact we obviously drove her to drink regularly, it has stuck and I now look on the Alder with its male catkins, and little female cones with a smile.