Wednesday, September 18, 2019

That Seed From Monday

Two possibilities, both advocated for strongly via email.

The first is a sycamore tree (Andrew Rawnsley):
It's a sycamore seed.  Where I grew up in England, they were extremely common.  I'm not a tree person (at all), but when I saw it, some deep-seated 40 year old memory burbled up, "sycamore!" and google confirmed.  I guess we must have looked at them at primary school or something, although I have no recollection of that.  Funny how the mind works.

The second is a maple tree (from John Brown):
Those seeds are another distinctive characteristic of maple trees along with leaf shape (as seen on the Canadian flag).  The wind catches the seed and (hopefully) pushes it some distance from the parent tree.   I grew up calling them whirlybirds. 

A follow-up email from John:
A few new facts I learned later yesterday:

1) Technically, those are a fruit as the seed is in a nutlet with the wing attached.  The fruit is called a samara.  
2) Several varieties of tree produce samara.  The other possibility for that configuration of samara is an ash tree.  Both can be found throughout Michigan so you might have to check the leaf structure to see if it matches a maple or an ash.
3) A few other varieties of tree produce a samara with a different configuration where the seed is in the middle instead of to one side.

A fruit! Well, everything's a fruit, nowadays. Avocados. Tomatoes. Ham.

Seeing dozens of those whirling from a tree in 30 MPH winds was a wondrous moment.

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