Red maple flowers

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I’m convinced spring has arrived. Spring peepers are peeping, and red maple trees (Acer rubrum) are blooming.

I’ve enjoyed the subtle color of maple flowers for years, and I’ve recently discovered how intricate and beautiful they are. I often see the small blossoms high overhead or from a distance, and they’re easy to overlook. These are male flowers as seen from the ground.

Red maple male flowers

At close range, the rosy-red blossoms are quite showy. According to Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Lewellyn, the male anthers are yellow when covered with pollen and appear dark after the pollen is released. This book is helping me notice trees in a different way, and I highly recommend it.

Close-up of red maple male flowerse-flowers

The female flowers give quite a different view. The forked stigmas will catch pollen and eventually form the familiar ‘helicopter’ maple seeds.

Close-up of female red maple flowersle-female-flowers

Red maples are abundant in Kentucky, and their flowers will add color along our roadways for the next few weeks. After looking at them closely and seeing their exquisite detail, I’ll be appreciating them even more.

9 thoughts on “Red maple flowers”

  1. Unbelievable! I’ve watched my own red maple unfold earlier than most trees, but have never looked under magnification. I can scarcely believe. You and your camera are teachers and artists. Thank you.

  2. Betty, I have a large (over 30 yrs old) silver maple. We have abundant “helicopters”, but I had never noticed any blooms. I’ll have to take a closer look!

  3. Your photos are cheering me on that spring is here. While it will be well over a month before our red maple blooms (in Southern ON), I will be looking at it with new eyes to see all the beautiful details. Thanks for the inspiration, gorgeous photos!

  4. Hello Betty
    I agree with all the above comments on your wonderful Red Maple flower photos. The close up shots are truly stunning, and the red colours just gorgeous!. Trusting that your weather is warming up and that you will soon be enjoying some lovely warm sunshine and busy with your camera!

  5. We have recently purchased our retirement home after 23 years in the
    Florida Keys. I love Kentucky!!!! Your website is fantastic, as we are doing our best to keep all the plants native to this area. Western Kentucky is a wonderful place and so glad we chose this area to spend our retirement in!!

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