As I look at the large deciduous trees in Eliza Howell Park in the early part of April, I am keenly aware that the new green leaves are not yet emerging.
But some trees look red.
A closer view reveals that the trees are flowering. They are Red Maples, the earliest flowering trees in the park.
The flowers are striking, when seen up close, and come in two varieties – either female or male. The first of these two pictures is an example of a female blossom; the second is of a male.
I have read that female and male blossoms are sometimes both on the same tree (though on different branches), but I am finding only one or the other on a tree.
In these two additional pictures of Red Maple flowers, a female blossom is again followed by a male.
The female blossoms develop seeds which fall in the late spring or early summer. Many of the Red Maple trees in Eliza Howell have only male flowers and, of course, no seeds.
It is easy to get into the habit in the spring, when thinking of early flowers, to search the soil for sprouts. I have been learning that I should also look up.