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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - January 18, 2011

From: Lawton, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Looking for a Drummond Red Maple in Lawton, OK.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I would like to buy a female Drummond red maple from a local retailer but it's Jan.12 and those he has in stock are leafless with just the beginnings of buds showing. They are about 20 feet tall and in very large containers. How can I know for sure that one is truly a Drummond variety (he does not seem to be very knowledgeable on this). And how can I tell whether it's a male or female w/o waiting for blooms or seeds to appear. If I do have to wait for flowers or seeds then when is that likely to happen and what would I look for at that point? Would it be too late in the season to plant it after it has shown flowers or seeds? Thanks, K.P.

ANSWER:

It appears that you have three types of questions going here: one  involves identity, a second involves reproductive capability, and the third involves timing.

Let’s start by learning a little about this tree. The Drummond Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. drummondii (Drummond's maple)) is a variety of Red Maple, and tends to prefer swampy sites in nature. You would want to plant it in a moist area with slightly acidic soil. One character that sets it apart from the Red Maple Acer rubrum (Red maple) is that the under side of the leaves is very hairy (tomentose). See images from Duke University.
It is a dioecious species meaning that it has “male” and “female” flowers on separate plants. I prefer to use the terms staminate (male flowers) and pistillate (female flowers) to describe the two types of plants. The flowers are not showy, but they are distinctive. At this link from Louisiana State University,  look at the pictures of the flowers (as well as the leaves). Image 11 of 16 shows pistillate flowers; notice the v-shaped stigma protruding. Image 13 of 16 shows pistillate flowers with early fruit development (samaras). Image 14 of 16 shows staminate flowers with the stamens protruding.

So if the tree you are considering has leaves and flowers on it,  you can answer your first two questions. The Drummond Maple can begin to flower and leaf out as early as February, so by March or April, you should be able to plant your tree.

Another question that you might consider: “Can a tree that is known as the Swamp Maple find happiness in Lawton, OK?” For help with this question, I would suggest contacting the Commanche County Office of Oklahoma Cooperative Extension and the Central Chapter of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society.


Acer rubrum var. drummondii


Acer rubrum


           Acer rubrum            pistillate flowers


               Acer rubrum                     staminate flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

plant labels to indicate resistance to wildfire
November 12, 2013 - I have a group of students researching plants that are more fire resistant. They have learned that keeping home landscaping around a structure will help reduce the risk of a structure catching fire i...
view the full question and answer

Fragrant native vine for Logan UT
January 08, 2011 - So as a general question for the Utah climate, (Logan to be precise) is there any kind of climbing vines that would take the place of a jasmine even if deciduous in nature? I read the article about th...
view the full question and answer

Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
August 14, 2012 - Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?
view the full question and answer

Need source for garlic to plant in garden in Fort Worth, TX.
September 30, 2011 - Where can I get or purchase a native Texas garlic to plant in my garden?
view the full question and answer

Sources for plants from Abingdon MD
August 02, 2012 - What stores or nursuries in Harford County sell already grown Coral honeysuckle, Purple passion flower, trumpet creeper, and crossvine?
view the full question and answer

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