An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Silver Maples Beginning To Flower

3-19-18 silver maple male flowers 049A4484

Early in spring, often in March, long before trees begin to leaf out, the swollen red buds of Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) begin to open, revealing the flowers within.  Typically, most of the buds on a given tree bloom at the same time; in fact, if there are several Silver Maples in an area, they will usually all flower within days of each other. Most of the flowers on any given tree are of the same gender, so there are male and female trees.

The flowers of maples are wind-pollinated and lack petals (which would hinder dissemination of the pollen).  Therefore, the flowers are not large and flashy, and often escape notice. Flowering before leaves emerge also enhances pollen dispersal. The flowers are generally either male or female. If you look closely at the male flowers, what you will see are bundles of stamens, sometimes red and sometimes yellowish-green, tipped with yellow pollen.  Female flowers have reddish clusters of pistils forming clumps of bristly little balls along the branches. The pistils develop petal-like extensions at the tips called stigmas, which are receptors for the pollen. (Photo: Silver Maple buds opening; inset = male Silver Maple flowers)

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3 responses

  1. Ah Ha; a truthful post Mary, but where are you located ? My backyard (Worcester at 1500-feet) is still in deep winter despite those warm days a few weeks ago. We never lost our snow then, and now… three days of below-zero nights make it seem like a month before we’ll see Silver Maple buds, Thanks for giving us hope.

    March 19, 2018 at 11:32 am

    • I am in Hartland – the banana belt to you! The photo of the flowers in full bloom was not taken this year, just the buds beginning to open!

      March 19, 2018 at 4:42 pm

  2. Alice Pratt

    Such pretty buds….we must have some Silver Maples around here…must look for some.

    March 19, 2018 at 3:30 pm

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