Monday, April 27, 2009

Not so mundane maple.

Maples of several species are flowering now, not as flamboyantly as the fruit trees that have recently been so showy, but are pretty nonetheless, especially against a blue sky.

Acer sp. male flowers.

These are staminate (male) flowers of what I have tentatively identified as Norway maple (Acer platanoides), which is a European species often used in gardens and as street trees in North America, and which, in the east at least , has become somewhat invasive within hardwood forests. (I'm not sure of the id because of the red stems, which in most pictures of Norway maple flowers are yellow or yellow-green. It is at least very much like a Norway maple.)

Notice within the ring of stamens is a small red structure, a rudimentary pistil. Female flowers have an opposite configuration, with a prominent, bifurcated pistil surrounded by rudimentary stamens.

The trees are typically dioecious (bearing either male or female flowers), but some may be monoecious (both flower types on a single tree), however in the latter case, flowers of different genders may be spatially and/or temporally separated on the tree. Pollination is by insects, primarily nectar-loving bees.

A final picture, taken from almost the same vantage point as the third image, but in November, showing the form of the leaf, and the flipside of this tree's year.

1 comment:

kompoStella said...

the photo of the male flowers is very, very beautiful.
... but i really don't want to think about november right now ;-)