Red Maples (Acer rubrum) are celebrated in the fall for their vibrant foliage, but they produce equally vibrant reds and yellows in early spring when they are flowering. Most Red Maples have dense clusters of either male flowers or female flowers (dioecious). Under certain conditions, a Red Maple tree can sometimes switch from male to female, male to both male and female (hermaphroditic), and hermaphroditic to female.
The showier male, or staminate, flowers contain between four and twelve stamens, with long, slender filaments and red (young) or yellow (mature) anthers at their tips. Both red sepals and petals can be seen at the base of the stamens. A staminate Red Maple in full bloom is a blaze of gold and red. (Photo: mature staminate Red Maple flowers)
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