Hi all, good to see you 🙂
Our tree today is the Norway maple.
You might mistake it for a sycamore tree (see last week’s ‘Oot ma door’) but hopefully this post will help you spot some of the differences between them.
Time for a Tale
Here is a story about the maple tree, from the telling of Bob Red Hawk:
How many of you have tasted maple syrup? Did you know it comes from the sap of some of the maple trees? It is very sweet 🙂
My daughter brought me some back from Canada and it is delicious on pancakes!
There are many different types of maple trees, some of which have been imported here. Find out more about them here: http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-maple-trees/
Only one maple is native to the UK and that is the Field maple – find out more here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/field-maple/
The Norway maple is a tree commonly seen here, and this is the one we will look at today.
Challenge – can you find one?
Below is a guide to help you.
The Norway maple
The tree’s bark is pale brownish-grey with ridges – very different to the sycamore.
The maple in winter and in spring
This tree has a very pleasing shape. Here you can see it in winter and spring.
If you compare the maple with the sycamore, the latter are often more ‘scraggy’ and less defined:
Buds, flowers and leaves
Over winter the buds are small, reddish-green and oval in shape and as they begin to swell and open, they grow larger.
The flowers will vary depending on which kind of maple you are observing. This one has clusters of yellowish flowers and the emerging leaves are green.
Here is another maple with very different flowers and leaves!
Like the sycamore, Norway maple leaves have 5 points, but in the maple they have slim, pointy ends.
Can you see what is feasting on the underside of the leaf? Insects such as greenfly like the sugary sap from this tree!
Challenge – do you know a flag that has this leaf on it?
Can you find out why it was chosen?
Here is a maple tree in autumn – they are often very colourful.
Once the flowers are pollinated, the female flower develops into fruit, which look similar to the sycamore helicopters, but the ‘arms’ are wider apart.
Sycamore helicopters change from green to brown but maple winged fruit can often be much brighter!
In autumn through to late winter look for the fruit on the ground.
Like the sycamore, as soon as the days begin to lengthen, the helicopter will rise up and put a foot-root into the earth.
And soon seedlings appear; first 2 leaves and then 2 more – neither of which look like proper leaves:
Here is the sycamore in comparison:
Challenge – if you compare the sycamore and maple seedlings are there any differences?
If you took up the challenge last week, to measure a sycamore seedling, are you sure it’s a sycamore? 🙂
One way to find out is to wait till the mature leaves appear, but until then it is difficult because the colour of young leaves in both species can vary from rusty red to dark green!
Challenge – through the year why don’t you draw/photograph a sycamore and a Norway maple and see how they compare?
You could make a table like the one below to record your pictures/photos 🙂
|The whole tree in Spring
|The fruit on the trees
|The fruit has flown down – the
|The spring seedlings
Hope to see you soon 🙂