Flowers, flowers!!!!

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Gomero, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    Gil,
    That's a good question because by 'good' I assume you mean both the number of seeds produced &
    their fertility. The obvious answer would seem that the more the flowers the more the number of
    seeds but logic is human not arboreal. Another research and observation project for me, Gil.
    Let's encourage others' imput and knowledge.
    Mike
     
  2. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Gomero--

    Did you ever have any seed set on your Kotohime? I had flowers on mine once--just a few, nothing like yours--and I watched eagerly for seeds, but every flower dropped off rather promptly.

    Everyone is raving about their seeds and flowers, but here not a single palmatum is in leaf or flower yet. It's a late year--things are usually out by now. I'm out of kilter.

    Dan
     
  3. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Peaches and Cream, my only maple flowers so far.
     

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  4. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Samaras, samaras!!!!

    Hi Dan,

    Well, that's a good question: I don't know. I have had flowers in the past but I do not remember picking up seeds from the tree, but that doesn't mean there were none!!!
    I'll know pretty soon since seeds are already forming in most of the maples.

    So, after the flowers: samaras, samaras!!!!

    Those of Osakazuki are spectacular with their bright red color, who said maples were only leaves?

    Gomero
     

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  5. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    White Tigress sprung a panicle(?) from every bud. It's completely enchanting.

    I've never had this plant hold onto a single samara. 10 years in a pot.
     

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  6. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Most of the snakebarks are monoecious, either male or female. Unless there's a male and a female in the same neighborhood, I don't think you'll get samaras, and the male flowers just drop off when they have done their job.

    Might be interesting to know if White Tigress is a boy or a girl.

    Dan
     
  7. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Hmmm thanks Daniel for that significant detail. Extremely doubtful that there is another snakebark nearby.
     
  8. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    PTB--

    Wait! I got the fact right--male and female snakebark flowers are borne on separate trees--but the name wrong. These are dioecious trees; trees with both sexes on the same tree are monoecious.

    I've gotten this wrong before. I always think, "di" means two, so there are two sexes on one tree, and "mono" means one, so each tree has one sex.

    Dan
     
  9. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    How can you tell?


    So I checked this evening and the flowers in 'Koto hime' (or 'Kotohime') have converted into samaras, tiny but true samaras as seen in the pic. We'll see if they are not empty

    Gomero
     

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  10. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Well, let's see. I have a couple of photos of A. pensylvanicum flowers, male and female. In the center of the female flower on the left, you can see the stigma, the female part of the flower, extending out and splitting into two parts. This is the part that catches the pollen, which is male, and sends it down to the ovaries. When it's active, the stigma is often a little sticky. At the base of the stigma you can see the beginning of the developing samara, extending NNW to SSE. Around the edge of the honey disc you can see 8 anthers. They do exist, but in a female pensylvanicum they are vestigial--they never develop fully, and they don't produce pollen.

    The second photo is of a male flower. No stigma, no developing samara, and the anthers are much more highly evolved.

    So this is what flowers look like in dioecious species. In a monoecious species, each flower has both male and female parts, but they generally develop at different times. I don't have a good picture that illustrates this in palmatum, but the third photo, with the black background, is of the male stage of a sugar maple flower--you can even see the pollen. If I'd left these flowers on the tree, the male anthers would have dropped off and each flower would later have produced a female stigma and, if it was pollinated, a seed.

    I think the goal of all this segregation of sexes by tree or by time is to encourage outbreeding. A tree that produces male and female flowers that are active at the same time is going to end up fertilizing itself. And we all know where inbreeding leads.

    I also included a photo of an Acer rubescens flower, mostly because it has such an exotic stigma. Again, there are vestigial male anthers. Wind-pollinated trees like many of the maples often have elaborate stigmas, because they have to catch pollen on the wing. It isn't brought to them by insects, which is why wind-pollinated plants don't generally have fragrance or big attractive flowers. Lots of maples are pollinated by both wind and insects.

    D
     

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  11. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    Great photos, Dan, with explanations. Thanks so much.
    Mike
     
  12. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Yes, good one Dan, appreciate the information.
     
  13. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I really enjoyed that, Dan. Thanks.

    BTW, had a pleasant surprise this morning when I went down into my gardens to visit KIK (Japanese) - flowers!
     

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  14. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Lovely shots there Winter.
     
  15. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Is there a name for those fuzzy spots that are characteristic of new leaves on 'Johin'?
     

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  16. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks, Poetry.

    Very nice pic, yourself.

    Um. Couldn't say about the spots.
     
  17. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I am pulling up this very interesting thread. In my garden flower production this year seem yet more impressive than last year. Lots of trees (species and cultivars) that had never flowered, are doing so this spring.
    Someone may think that that is normal since trees age and, sooner or later, will reach 'maturity' and set flowers. However I am not seeing this age correlation in my garden since even 2 year old grafts are showing a few flowers!

    Following the link discussion, I cannot correlate with any kind of particular stress: Summer 2009 was average in heat and rainfall; Fall 2009 was 50% wetter than normal.

    Is that the case in other parts of the world?

    Gomero
     
  18. zonebreaker

    zonebreaker Active Member

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    Our autum 2009 in sweden was much wetter than normal also. No flowers yet,just snow.....
     
  19. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I don't think science had pinpointed why some years are prolific for plant flowering and reproduction and some aren't. Its probably a number of factors, which combined together create a trigger for heavier than normal flowering.

    As far as maple flower production - the reason you see it on young grafts is because those scions came from mature parts of the plant that were ready to flower. I have a bunch of brand new grafts flowering even as we speak...
     
  20. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Every year the flowers are so amazing.

    I believe I experienced a spike in samara germination this year.

    Flowering today 'Aka Omote'. These flowers are tiny. I'm eager to see if this tree generates some samaras.
     

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  21. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    I walked my garden Easter Saturday and was struck by the super abundance of maple flowers this year.
    I have an 'Aconitifolium' with samaras already 1/2 mature size on 4/03/2010 which surprised me.
    We will need to wait to see if this bumper crop of flowers generates a bumper crop of mature samaras come
    October.
     
  22. garcan

    garcan Active Member 10 Years

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    K4's statement about certain stressed weather conditions can result in increased production of seeds seems to confirm what I have been suspecting. There was one year when we had an explosion of Japanese maple seedlings all over the garden (~1 acre) following a couple of years of abnormal dry and wet weather. This only happened once in the 20+ year that I grow these maples.
     
  23. nelran

    nelran Active Member

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    Here are some pics taken yesterday. Splendid show...
    Nelran
     

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  24. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The fact that increased flower production could be a result of stress, is well documented and many of us have certainly witnessed that in nature at one moment or another.
    However it may be that stress is not the only explanation, as I look back to growing conditions in my garden in the last two years. If anything, they have been better than normal for my area (i.e.: higher rainfall, cooler temps) which means that they are thereby closer to the 'normal' growing conditions for Japanese (and Asian in general) maples. I may add, as a corollary, that normal growing conditions (i.e.: low rainfall, dry heat) in my area are indeed stressful conditions for those trees.

    Gomero
     
  25. nelran

    nelran Active Member

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    I back up your idea, Gomero. This winter was one of the coldest and longest registered in decades, among exceptional rainfall. Special mention 'Aconitifolium' and 'Vitifolium' are producing a lot of flowers, but even my tiny 'Mikawa yatsubusa' has a lot of samaras for first time. I will keep upated this post.

    Nelran
     

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