Apr 13 2014

Flowering Trees

Published by at 7:00 am under Phenology,Trees

Red maple flowers, 10 April 2014 (photo by Kate St. John)

Spring is getting a boost on this warm and sunny weekend but we still don't have blooming cherry trees, dogwoods or hawthorns.  If you look closely, though, you'll see one native tree has small red flowers.

Shown above are the male flowers on a red maple.  The sepals and petals are only half as long as the stamens that stick out to catch the wind or tap the backs of bees. The flowers are a favorite with bees but red maples are so versatile they can be pollinated by both insects and wind.

Individual red maple trees can have all male, all female, or both sexes of flowers.  The female flowers have no "fuzz" because they have no stamens (of course).

Look closely to see the tiny flowers.


(photo by Kate St. John)

One response so far

One Response to “Flowering Trees”

  1. Carolynon 13 Apr 2014 at 11:19 am

    This is really fascinating; until today, I had no idea that any plant’s “sexual identification” could be “polygamo-dioecious”, such as the red maple. I’m wondering, is it alone among the Acers when it comes to this trait?

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