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Monday, March 17, 2014

Silver Maple

 
Back in January, on the day I encountered the beautiful frost patterns, I showed you this picture.

silver

But I didn't tell you how much it bugged me. I didn't know what kind of tree it was. I contacted an expert on tree buds, thinking it was going to be something strange. Boy was I red-faced when he said, "silver maple."

I was not about to argue with an expert, but I was flabbergasted. Which shows you how much attention I pay to buds. (The answer is "not enough.") We used to have a silver maple tree in our yard before they widened the road, and several of the trees in that lineup are still standing. Here's one of them.

silver maple silhouette

I could have previously told you quite a bit about the silver maple. It's often planted as a landscape tree, although I never could understand why. In the first place, it's a messy tree. The branches are brittle and will throw themselves all over the lawn with the slightest bit of wind. It doesn't turn pretty colors in the fall. The leaves pretty much curl up and turn brown. The twigs have a bitter odor when broken. Its one good feature is the deeply cut leaves, which are interesting. I'll have to bring you their picture in the summer.

I even could have told you about the bark, which was pretty good botanizing for me back then. I was much more taken up with feeding hungry boys than botany. The mature bark is loose and messy, tending to hang in strips on large trees.

silver maple bark

But I never, ever guessed that these clusters of button-like buds were on a maple. So, after my expert pointed it out, I had to confirm it for me. Zooming in on the buds of a known silver maple near my house, what do I see?

silver maple buds

Clusters of buds- even at a distance. Easily recognizable in the winter. Of course, you'll notice the opposite branching. I'll never mistake this maple for any other, ever again!

See Fog Frost
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5 comments:

Ratty said...

Even with your mistakes, you get it right eventually. I wish I knew even half as much as you do about plants. It's always fun to learn whatever I can from you though.

Ann said...

well at least now you know :)

rose of Walk in the Woods, LLC said...

It is amazing how much we can learn by observing Nature, through all the seasons, year after year.

And there's *so many* teachings 'n' learnings in those experiences that it's not unusual to miss some. That's at least one of the reasons why the seasons cycle ~ to give us those opportunities. :)

Secondary Roads said...

I can tell the difference between a maple tree and an oak. Sycamore trees are particularly easy to identify, but I'm clueless on the difference between members of the maple family.

RNSANE said...

I'm not good at any of that!!!

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