This wild Red Maple (Acer rubrum) was in flower yesterday, as are many other trees in the woods. Red Maples can produce both male and female flowers or just flowers of one sex, all of which look like little sea creatures. The ones shown here appear to be males because they have pollen-tipped stamens. (Female flowers have stigmas that extend far out, ready to catch the pollen.)


The “fruit” of the pollinated female Red Maple is in the form of red winged seeds (“double samaras”) that spiral (helicopter) down to the ground before the leaves are fully out. Sugar Maples, on the other hand, have green winged seeds that stay on those trees until late summer or fall. (Brooklin, Maine)