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Tree flowers

Tree Flowers (and fruits)

Sugar maple

A blooming sugar maple is one of the most conspicuous trees in the landscape, except that it's not obvious that the trees are actually flowering. The flowers are quite small, borne abundantly in clusters, each at the end of a long dangling flower stalk (pedicel).  All these parts are light yellow-green, presenting a very bright display that stands out, but with little apparent detail, so might be mistaken for leaf-out, which hasn't happened yet (branch/leaf buds are just breaking when the bloom is in full force).

In spring of 2006, I tracked flowering on a large lawn specimen tree along Rte 315 in Delaware OH, near the Orange Road bridge.
sugar maple

Sugar maple flowering
, April 21, 2006, Delaware, OH.

According to a book, sugar maple flowers are unisexual. This appears not to be the case, unless the pistillate one are functionally unisexual, because the flowers with pistils do have some stamens too. However, the stamens on the pistillate flowers are shorter than those on the purely staminate ones, and they might not actually split open and release pollen. Here's a flowering branch, at several levels of closeness.
sugar maple flowers

Sugar maple flowering, April 21, 2006, Delaware, OH.

Norway maple emerging

Sugar maple flowering, April 21, 2006, Delaware, OH.

sugar maple flowers

Sugar maple flowering, April 21, 2006, Delaware, OH.Note the long filaments and dehisced (split open) anthers on the staminate (male) flower in the upper portion of the photo, and the elongate "rabbit ears" stigma extending out to receive pollen on the pistillate flower in the center of the photo. Apparently non-functional anthers are evident just within the calyx of the female flower.

sugar maple flowers

Sugar maple inflorescence with young fruits, April 25, 2006.
sugar maple young fruits

Sugar maple young fruit, April 25, 2006, Delaware, OH.  Note the apparently non-functional stamens peeking out from the calyx on the female flowers.

silver maple fruits

Sugar maple with nearly mature fruits, May 4, 2006, Delaware, OH. Note the persistent but quite "spent"  staminate flowers. 

sugar maple fruits

Sugar maple with mature fruits, June 9, 2006, Delaware, OH. The leaves are beset with spindle galls, caused by a mite. They are not harmful to the tree.
sugar maple eating sign

Sugar maple eating a "No Trespassing" sign, December 17, 2007, Delaware, OH. This has nothing whatsoever to do with flowers but the tree is expressing a sentiment I share.
This land was made for you and me!