Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sugar Maple Blossoms

More About Trees and Plants...

The exotic flowers at left are the blooms of an old maple that grows in our yard. Each strand measures about 1 inch to 1-1/4 inch in length. The flowers have very little fragrance; perhaps there is just a hint of a "greenish" smell. They are just as chartreuse in color as they appear in the photo. Later, after the tree has grown its leaves, the fruit will appear -- a winged seed.

This old tree is apparently a Sugar Maple . This surprises me considerably because I had studied the tree's large, wide, deeply green leaves years ago and decided that it most resembled a Norway Maple. Now I am quite sure I was mistaken, because today I learned that Norway Maples have fairly large leaves before they bloom and their blossom looks a little different than this.

I have read today that Sugar Maples bloom in early to mid-spring before their leaves come out. I have also read that they bloom after the leaves are on. Much disagreement is found among web resources about the exact sequence of leafing and blooming in the Sugar Maple. However, this photo of a Sugar Maple's flower on the State of Illinois Division of Natural Resources page about flowering trees is identified as a sugar maple and looks very similar to the blossoms on our maple tree.

It seems that many people are puzzled with the exact identities of the maple trees in their yards. The maple identification page of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association begs readers NOT to send in maple leaves for identification.

One website mentioned that more than 90 different native and imported species of maples grow in the U.S. On another page I read that some species of maples hybridize freely. This could well be why the identification of this maple is confusing me!

It's common to find little seedlings in my flower beds, etc. from this tree. Maple seedlings can be transplanted very easily. The only difficulty is finding a spot that has plenty of room for them to become large trees.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.