I was up and out before 7 o’clock this morning and on my way to Tesco - to do some shopping, before the world and his wife got there.  I was quite surprised that it was still dark - not being an early bird, you understand.

Shopping done, I made my way back home just before 8.30 a.m. to find that all kinds of mad drivers were on the road - and many of them had children in their cars, so why they were taking such stupid risks, I will never know.

Once home and with the shopping unpacked, Mr. HCB went out into the garden to continue de-grassing and weeding one of our wild flower beds, ready for the new wild flower seeds to be planted in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, I decided to go for a walk as the sun was shining and I thought I might find something to blip and I knew that Mr. HCB would quite happily be in the garden for most of the morning.  

It was quite wet underfoot and I took several shots as I walked, but when I went into my field, which was even wetter, I found some hazel catkins and stopped to admire them.  When I got home found out from Mr. Google that “the Common Hazel is a wind pollinated monoecious tree, which means that the male and female flower parts are on the same tree.  Monoecious is Greek for ‘one household’.  The male flowers, on yellow catkins, hang down ready to release pollen onto the wind - and there may be over 200 unisexual male flowers on a single catkin”.   

Having taken this particular shot, which I thought was quite unusual, because most of the other catkins were hanging straight down, I saw the little flowers above, and again, Mr. Google came to my rescue and told me that “these resemble a bud with red stigmas that protrude when they are ready to receive pollen;  the flower buds are located on the branch above the catkin, to avoid self-pollination.  Each flower has four stigmas to collect pollen and if fertilised, each flower will produce one nut, known as a cob.  One to four nuts are produced from one bud, depending on how many flowers were fertilised.”

I have to say, I never knew that and found it quite interesting and hope that you did too.  Amazing how we can learn so much - and if ever there is a pub quiz question about monoecious trees, I will now know the answer, and so will you!

“The beautiful thing about learning 
     is that nobody can take it away from you.”
B.B. King

P.S.  I saw on my friend, Marylou's Facebook page that today's date is 2/2/22 - which would please her cousin, and one of my Blip friends, GadgetKid.  No doubt she will make some reference to it because she likes that sort of thing! 

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