Interesting “Cats”

Here are two surprising “Cat” facts on Bluestem Pond Farm.

1) Did you know how cattails grow?  This is the second year growth on the pond, and this year we are getting lots of the flowers of the cattail, from which the name comes.  I see that as the flower forms, there is first a column of pollen that forms and underneath it comes the thick brown cylinder that you know as a cattail.  If you bump the stem when the pollen is ripe, you get a poof of powder showering over yourself.

Cattails 2

2) Catalpa blossoms.  We have one tree we saved when we cleared the fields of “volunteers” in 2009 (four years ago already!)  It stands over the pet cemetery where we buried our previous two dogs, Duncan and Dolly.  It is a Catalpa, a fast growing tree that is common in Michigan.  The leaves are very large and the fruit of the tree comes in the form of foot-long beans as skinny and round as a pencil.

This time of the year, the catalpa produces the most beautiful blooms.  Most of the time you can’t get close enough to see them in detail but you just see nice white blossoms up high above you.  Our tree still has low branches, and look what is on it today…

Catalpa blossomsIs that pretty, or what?  We learned at the local beekeeper’s club meeting that these are very popular with the bees and that they have the potential to generate a good deal of honey if the catalpa trees are plentiful.  Maybe we should get more of them growing.


About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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7 Responses to Interesting “Cats”

  1. Sam says:

    I hope you’re collecting the pollen! There are so many tasty things you can do with it!!

  2. Lynda says:

    I love cat tails. They remind me of when I was a kid and we spent the summer on the Sacramento River. Maybe I should plant them near my pond? As for Catalpa, I had been under the impression that they only grew in arid regions. I think they are beautiful. Now I will be checking to see if there is a native variety that grows here in N. Alabama. 🙂

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hi there Bluestem! Followed you back from FarmGal’s blog (and now I see another blog-friend has been here too: ) *”Hi” Lynda*
    I haven’t had it since I was a kid, but Bullrush pollen is wonderfully nutty tasting stuff (and my Dad kept it in the freezer back then too: )
    Did you know that you can eat (or use) every part of the bullrush? I honestly think that’s why they’re SO prolific;)
    If you want to check it out, here’s my favourite info site’s link for the American Bullrush (but they list 17 different varieties of Cattail; )…
    Oh, btw, the PFAF (Plants for a Future) search engine works best if you use a plant’s Latin name. Cheers, Deb

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hi again Nancy, Catalpa is my absolute favourite native tree! You’re right about the blooms being an EXCELLENT nectar source… SO sweet smelling (and look like a massive bouquet of Orchids: )
    Oh, and, we’re celebrating Canada Day up here today, but have a Happy Fourth of July, ‘k?

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