Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sugar Maple Flowers

In just a few short days of warm May weather, brilliant yellow-green has coated the sides of the valley as hundreds of sugar maple come into bloom.  That first shine of bright green replacing the brown of early spring you may think are the leaves unfurling and starting to grow, and you're right - in part.  But the bulk of that yellow-green colour is actually the flowers of the sugar maples.

Generally inconspicuous, tree flowers aren't often noticeable, and they certainly aren't the bright colours of other wildflowers.  But we all know that sugar maples have keys in the fall, and those seeds have to come originally from the flowers.  Below is the spreading green canopy of maples, sweeping up the west side of the Beaver Valley, here just north of the ski club.

Depending on circumstances, individual trees stand out as if they are lit up, with a very pale yellow-green colour.  Usually the flowers are only in the canopy, and it's hard to get a picture.  But trees along the forest edge or in fencerows provide a chance to see the flowers close-up.

The lower branches of this big old maple, near Lake Eugenia, gave me the chance to get the close- up shown at the top.

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