Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - December 04, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: When do bigtooth maples (Acer grandidentatum) seeds mature and fall?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, In answer to a previous question, you said that Bigtooth Maple samaras come ripe around August-September. Recently, I went to Lost Maples State Natural Area, and in their display, it says that they start dropping in spring. That was the only reference I have seen to the seeds dropping in spring, are the maples of that area different than others, or was their display inaccurate?

ANSWER:

In all the sources (e.g., U. S. Forest Service, Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of the Southwest by R. A. Vines, Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country, by Jan Wrede) I could find with botanical and ecological information about Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple) the time of seed maturation was given as in the Fall.  Here is a quote from the U.S. Forest Service page:  "Samaras begin to form in May and mature by August or September... Samaras drop from the trees between mid-August and early October."  So, curious about the difference in what you saw in the display at Lost Maples State Natural Area and the information in my sources, I decided to call the park and get the "truth".  I spoke to Bill Bailey, the Lead Ranger, at the Lost Maples State Natural Area who told me that, indeed, the samaras mature and drop in the Fall.  We aren't sure what you saw in the displays that made you think it was in the Spring.  The seeds do germinate in the Spring so, perhaps there was a statement that wasn't completely clear, for instance—"the samaras fall and then germinate in the Spring."

 

More Trees Questions

Galls on live oak trees in Austin, TX
April 14, 2005 - I am a resident of a condominium complex in Austin that has numerous Live Oak trees. Can you explain what the gall type things are hanging from the trees at this time of year and all over the grounds?...
view the full question and answer

Young Mexican White Oak Losing Leaves in Texas
July 13, 2016 - I have a 5 yr old Mexican white oak, 20 ft tall losing its leaves mostly at the top. They turn brown & fall off. It does not lose its leaves in the winter, right?. About 3 ft from the top down is bare...
view the full question and answer

Searching for an Escarpment Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) for sale
October 16, 2007 - I am trying to find an Escarpment Black Cherry Tree for planting in my yard. Do you know of anyone that carries this particular type of tree?
view the full question and answer

Replanting a Desert Willow
February 07, 2016 - My desert willow was damaged badly in a winter storm and had to be taken down. Do I need to remove the old root system below grade when I plant a new desert willow?
view the full question and answer

Walnut tree root coming through basement floor in Portland, OR
February 10, 2009 - I have a walnut tree root coming through my basement floor. I need advice as to what will it do to tree when I remove the root, like another root though a different part of my home. It is a large tree...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.