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

Identification of Diospyros texana at Enchanted Rock Park
April 07, 2007 - I took pictures last year in April of one particular large shrub in Enchanted Rock Park. The flowers are extremely fragrant, sort of cluster of tiny creamy white bell shaped. We came back this last we...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of the American beech tree from West Hartford CT
May 25, 2010 - What is the growth rate of an American beech tree?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Ebenopsis
July 01, 2005 - Why is the Texas Ebony, genus Pithecolobium, not in your database? Is it not a native? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to provide a privacy screen in Cedar Creek, TX
March 31, 2015 - We need to screen out neighbor's house. What can we plant (fast growing tree or hedge) in partial shade? Area is dry in summer, but does get soggy during heavy rain. We live east of Austin in Cedar C...
view the full question and answer

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