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Unseen Flowers of Spring

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

One of the earliest trees to bloom in the US northeast is the red maple (Acer rubrum), also know as the swamp maple. While we marvel at the emergence of early spring bulbs, we rarely look up to see the inconspicuous yet interesting flowers of our deciduous trees emerging from dormancy. The red maple is polygamodioecious, meaning it has bisexual and male flowers on some trees and bisexual and female flowers on other trees. In other words . . . it's complicated! It's fun to take a close look at individual trees to identify the different flowers. See photos below to help with identification.

Red maple - female flowers

Red maple - male flowers

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