Answer: Actually when the buds open and form the fuzzy catkins they are in bloom and there is no "flower" that we would call ornamental besides that. They may attract early bees or other insects at that time, just as any flower will. They may be affected by a number of pest and disease problems and often require some attention as a result. As to whether or not they are beneficial in the garden would depend on how highly you value the catkins, or perhaps it would be useful if you needed a small tree to plant in a damp spot in your yard.
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