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Cottonwood Catkins. Red or Green?

Off Center & Not Even

0A6A9501 Red…? Male cottonwood catkins.

I keeping with the official New Mexican question, “Red or Green?”, cottonwood trees show their sex in red or green. Although New Mexico is a southwestern state, we have Eastern Cottonwood Trees. The catkins that form in early spring on Eastern Cottonwoods are red on male trees and green on female trees. The red catkins on male trees shrivel up and fall off as the male trees leaf out. Not much else happens to the male trees other than being tall, handsome, natural air-conditioners, and going through their normal seasonal cycles of sporting green leaves in summer, yellow leaves that turn brown in fall, and standing bare for a few months in winter before putting on catkins again in early spring.

The green catkins on the female trees turn into what we call “tatones”, shells where the cotton-like seeds forms. Around the end of June, into…

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