Though its autumn leaves are yellow and not the commonly cited red, and though it never fruits the hallmark crimson keys we’d call “helicopters,” I can finally pin a name to the indifferent subject of my long but casual scrutiny:

a red maple tree.

Other identifying characteristics have been evident throughout the year…

I’ve gathered three-lobed leaves fallen from their opposite arrangement on summer branches, accidentally peeled plated bark from the trunk when tugging climbing ivy, collected many brittle branches dropped to the woodland floor, and patiently watched wine-red twigs and buds endure a long winter.

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But it’s a small flower that finally proves the name.

In early spring, a single red maple can flower a marriage of male and female blooms, a union that will likely produce a bunch of winged seeds.

Other individuals might present exclusively male or female flowers.

The female kind may be pollinated by male neighbors and thereby fruit seeded helicopters.

But this particular red maple has revealed its own dispositon along Little Crum Creek:  a naturally confirmed bachelorhood of total male florescence that won’t be going to seed.100_9467edcropC100_9522edcropC                                                                                                      .

100_9543edcropANow, why its leaves turn yellow in fall, and not red, I can’t yet say.

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