Let the bouquets begin!

With Spring only weeks away, red maple buds are poised to burst into flower.

















If you’ve never had a chance to greet these early bloomers at eye level, prepare for a welcome blast of winter-busting color.  Red maple flowers are spectacular, and they come by the bazillion.










Some trees have male flowers, some have female flowers, and some have both. These are male flowers, with pollen-tipped stamens extending out beyond the small petals.











These are the female flowers that with develop into winged seeds. 













Chances are, if you’re reading this in the eastern U.S., there’s a red maple near you. This tree has an impressive range—you’ll find it growing from Newfoundland to Florida, from the east coast to Minnesota and Texas. 










And when you’re ready for a second dose of scarlet at summer’s end, look for the red maples to put on an eye-popping encore.

Photos and text by Allison W. Bell,
Co-Author of AMC's Field Guide to New England Alpine Summits and AMC Nature Notes guest blogger.