Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Are maples pollinated by the wind or by insects? It seem that some species use one method and some the other. Their flowers are rather insignificant, at least to our eyes, but it is possible that insects see them differently; anyways sugar maple seems to be one that receives numerous visits from hungry bees that can't find much food so early in the season. Look at the flower, it is greenish yellow, very small, although by growing in clusters, they become more conspicuous and attractive to visitors, and they have some shiny, glistening fluid on the surface, touch it with the tip of your tongue and you'll feel a very tiny taste of maple syrup. Yes, that would make them very attractive to bees.
Some flowers are strongly influenced by the light and open or shut accordingly, others stay on schedule regardless of how cloudy and dark it is. This seems to be the case with bloodroot, Sanguinaria. These two pictures of the same clump of flowers were taken two hours apart, at 7:30 and 9:30 AM EST on a very cloudy day.