Wasn’t it just last week that we were looking for the first signs of spring?
Red maples (Acer rubrum) are one of the first plants to produce flowers every year at Ijams Nature Center, even before the first day of spring.
And now, their blooms have faded and the common trees are beginning to produce their seeds in pairs borne in fruits called samaras, tiny little helicopters that twirl to the ground. A single red maple tree—with a diameter of between 2 and 8 inches—can produce between 12 ,000 and 90,000 seeds.
Red maples are widespread. Look for them anywhere in the nature center's 275 acres. But if you want to see the samaras, you better hurry, it all happens so fast.
- Text by Stephen Lyn Bales