Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Snow in Spring

When I arrived almost two weeks ago, I saw these little wispy blobs floating through the sky.

Were they bits of raw cotton that escaped from a truck?

Or some sheep shedding like crazy?

Turns out they're called catkins, seeds from male willow and poplar trees trying to pollinate with female ones.

It's typical to see the fluffy pollen during April and May.

But not everyone is happy to see them. Some people hold their noses or shield their eyes from the "floating snow". Others find them a nuisance and complain how the catkins add to the dust.

There are some 370,000 poplar and willow trees in eight of Beijing's downtown districts and so you can imagine how much white stuff there is out there.

The Capital Greening Office has a plan to cut down on the catkin population. They will attempt to graft the trees's branches so that the wispy seeds won't have to travel far to pollinate.

But environmentalists think the plan is not a blooming good idea, saying cutting the branches will mean less shade during the summer, and that this is a natural process people should not intervene.

I just think these little white wispy blobs a wonderful sight, especially when a guest of wind blows by.

1 comment:

Tina said...

I always wondered what the fluff was. It floats in huge wads around downtown Toronto to. *sigh* another reason to hate Toronto.