• 59°

Wayne Hinshaw column: Maple tree seeds

Dry seeds

These dry seeds from a maple tree are fluttering around in the wind this time of the year. The actual seed is on the dark end and the remainder of the seed helps it whirl in circles as it falls to the ground. photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

By Wayne Hinshaw
For the Salisbury Post

While walking to my car, I noticed that the wind was full of some sort of seeds fluttering, whirling, and spinning to the ground. My car was covered with the small reddish and yellow seeds. They somehow even got under my windshield wipers.

I  thought they were maple tree seeds, but I was not sure so I was curious enough to check them out. As usual, when I started checking the seeds out, I got really interested in the little seeds. I have to share the information with you.

I am familiar with sugar maples and red maples, but there are over a hundred varieties of maples worldwide. The seeds of the maple are the fruit of the tree. The seeds are called samaras, maple keys, helicopters, or whirlybirds.

If you watch the seeds diving from the trees you will see them spin around and around as they spiral to the ground. It is easy to see where the name helicopters and whirlybirds come from.

On the tree, the seeds are green to yellow in color, growing in pairs. When the seeds are dry, they spin from the tree, covering everything as they search for the ground.

The seed’s shape and design is very aerodynamic with the seed pod on one end and the remaining structure is like a “wing” so that the seed can spin and fly a long way from the parent tree in the wind. The design of the seed helps it spin into the grass, keeping the seed upright so that it is ready to go into the soil and produce a new tree. Each tree will product thousands of seeds in the spring.

I am not suggesting that you go out and gather maple seeds to eat, but they are edible, I learned. The green seeds from the tree have to be separated from the “wing.” Don’t eat the wings, only the seed itself — it is about the size of a pea. Green maple seeds are bitter if eaten raw. I don’t know why you would want to get the bitter seeds, but they can be boiled with butter, salt and pepper to neutralize the bitter taste.

I will leave eating maple seeds to the TV program’s “Survivors” and be content just watching the little whirlybirds spin through the air to my car windshield.

Comments

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs