China / Society

Willow warning: Catkins are pretty, but carry potential health risks

( / CRI) Updated: 2016-04-09 11:59
Willow warning: Catkins are pretty, but carry potential health risks

A woman braves catkins in the air in Beijing, April 8, 2016. Tourists visiting the capital will experience a "snowing scene" in the following days as the pussy willow from the blossoming poplar and willow trees covers the whole city. [Photo/Xinhua]

People in cities like Beijing, Tianjin and Nanjing are embracing their annual spring catkins season.

Generated from blossoming poplar and willow trees, the catkins this year have arrived one week earlier than previous years.

The snow white cotton-like fluff is expected to reach its peak level on April 15th in Beijing, and it will likely last for around three weeks.

Experts say despite their pretty looks, a massive amount of catkins could pose threats to both residents' health and the safety of public transportation, as the "snow" is quite flammable

In the past few years, Beijing authorities had taken measures, including special injection for trees, to limit the amount of catkins.

Poplars are a resilient tree that can thrive in harsh conditions including cold, droughts, or floods. It is also this tree that lines the Gobi Desert as a means to block sandstorms, and the city has planted over 100 million poplar and willow trees throughout Beijing.

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