Look Up!

Springtime at City HallSpring is the time of flowering trees. We have Magnolias and Redbuds and Crabapples all competing for our attention…well at least for the attention of their pollinators, but we like to think those displays are for us.  Certainly we have bred many of those colors and sizes for our own enjoyment.  Look a little further up though and there is something not as obvious but just as beautiful happening.  The shade trees that are mostly pollinated by the wind are beginning to fill up their canopies with innumerable small blossoms.

Particularly, I enjoy the maples. Their flowers viewed up close are fascinating with little blossoms hanging in clusters about an inch long off of the tips of branches and twigs. These very quickly turn into samaras, or maybe you know them as helicopters, as they are pollinated.  These seeds form so quickly I swear you can hear them growing, and they add to the color display.  If you are looking it is easy to identify a red maple at the beginning of April just by looking up and seeing a subtle pinkish red glow from millions of these inconspicuous blooms.  Certainly a grove of them could hardly go unnoticed.  Individual trees within a grove or along a street can have minute variations in color adding layers to the spectacular show.  Sugar maples are crowned with tiny electric chartreuse blossoms that absolutely glow.  Japanese maples are easier to view up close so take a look at the clusters of tiny little lanterns hanging from strings of different colors.  There are hundreds of varieties of Japanese maple and every one has a different leaf and flower size, shape and color.  If you know where a Norway maple has put down roots go take a look at the flowers in April.  They are also bourn in clusters but look more like little green stars than lanterns.

I could go on about so many of our other shade trees but I will leave it for you to go and take a closer look at our Ash, Elms, Cottonwoods, Alders, Birch, Beech and many more…don’t even get me started on our shrubs…

One thought on “Look Up!”

  1. Wonderful entry, Jesse! Autumn used to be my favourite season, but after living in a place where we have such long, dark winters, I see so much more in the spring. All the new life coming to bloom is extraordinary!

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