Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Tree Flowers, Then and Now May 1, 2009

This spring we’ve been following tree buds as they open, revealing new flowers, new leaves, and more. For instance, back on March 29th we got our first look at the spectacular pollen-producing flowers of the male Red Maple:

The male Red Maple flowers shed loads of pollen into the air.

Beginning in late March the male Red Maple flowers shed loads of pollen into the air.

We revisited our male maple on April 28th. Can you guess what we found?

On April 28th, the male Red Maple had opening leaves, but no flowers and no seeds.

On April 28th the male Red Maple had opening leaves, but no flowers and no seeds.

Once their pollen is shed, male flowers are done for the year. Our all-male Red Maple was just making leaves from its remaining buds. We also showed a female Red Maple back on April 8th. The female flowers were not as spectacular the male ones, but they had their own subtle beauty:

The female Red Maple flowers were not as flamboyant as the male flowers.

On April 8th female Red Maple flowers were not as flamboyant as the male flowers.

Here’s what the same female tree looked like on April 29th:

The female Red maple flowers have produced lots of winged seeds, but the leaves are barely beginning to open.

By April 29th the female Red Maple flowers were producing lots of winged seeds, but the leaf buds were barely opening.

Our female tree’s leaves were beginning to expand, but most its energy went to providing for the next generation. I guess the female Red Maple’s work was not yet done, at least not by the end of April. (You can insert your own gender observations here, but remember that at least some human dads stay home with the kids.)

We also showed American Elm flowers in our March 29th post. Unlike our Red Maples, elms have both pollen- and seed-producing parts in each flower:

On Americna Elm flowers, the male parts stick out, and the female ones are hidden.

On these American Elm flowers, photographed on March 20th, the male parts stuck out, but the female parts were hidden.

With both genders on the same tree, it’s no surprise that American Elms all over our neighborhood are loaded with green, ripening seeds:

On April 28th these rounded American Elm seeds were ripening, but the leaf bud on the tip of the twig was just starting to open.

On April 28th these rounded American Elm seeds were ripening, but the leaf bud on the tip of the twig was just starting to open.

Our first look at a Tulip Tree was back on April 8th. We saw some opening buds below the brownish remains of last year’s fruit:

On Aoril 8th, the Tulip Tree buds were barely open.

On April 8th, the Tulip Tree buds were barely open.

We checked back again on April 29th and found expanding leaves, but no flowers:

The Tulip Tree buds have opened, revealing expanding leaves around the remains of last year's fruits.

The Tulip Tree buds had opened by April 29th, revealing expanding leaves around the remains of last year's fruits.

Because Tulip Trees are a type of magnolia, we’re expecting a big flowers later this spring. Maybe they’ll emerge from the almond-shaped features at the end of the Tulip Tree twigs:

We're wondering if the Tulip Tree's flower will emerge from the almond-shaped thing in the center of the photo.

We're wondering if the Tulip Tree's flower will emerge from the almond-shaped thing in the center of the photo.

If you want to help us keep track of this tree, it’s in Rehm Park where Scoville deadends into the south end of the Park.

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Update added May 29, 2009: Our Tulip Tree finally bloomed today! To see photos, please go here.

 

4 Responses to “Tree Flowers, Then and Now”

  1. We can’t get enough of your tree flower pics! =) We’re especially interested to see what emerges from that bud on the Tulip Tree!

  2. What a great idea, to share photos of the same trees, some time apart. Reminds us to look up, helps us pay attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle(!) changes.

  3. […] Elm tree seeds are dangling.   (See elm tree seeds and other tree seeds and flowers in this blog about neighborhood nature in […]


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