I know that most maple trees flower in the spring and produce seeds in the fall. However, it seems to be the reverse for the maples near me. I see seeds fall off in the spring which makes me think that the maples flower in the fall, and the seeds develop in the winter. The species I have is sugar maple.

Why would it be the reverse for the sugar maples in Columbus, Ohio?

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    Have you observed this for many years? If not, is there a particular weather pattern correlated with your observation? Can you be more specific about where "around me" is?
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 21:11
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    I have observed this for many years
    – Caters
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


Sugar maples, like other maples, flower in early spring. The flowers aren't very impressive.

The leaves of sugar maple are usually fully expanded three to four weeks after the leaf buds begin to swell in the spring. The flowers emerge soon after the leaves and are in full bloom within a week. ...Fruits that result from flower pollination usually mature in about 10 to 12 weeks and become ripe in September or October. The double samara fruit is characteristic of sugar maple, but usually only one seed is viable. The samaras fall about two weeks after ripening, which is approximately the same time the tree suspends its annual height growth.

Red Maple flower earlier, before leaves appear. Again, the flowers are not really conspicuous but look rather like fuzzy things on the branches:

enter image description here

It is one of the earliest trees to flower in the spring, generally several weeks before vegetative bud break. It produces it's fruit very early. Seeds fall for a 1- to 2-week period during April through July.

I live in mixed deciduous woods, and the flowers of the red maples are some of the earliest color we have in the spring.

Perhaps this is what you're seeing, the early fruits of the Red Maple. In any case, there are no maples that flower in the fall and overwinter their seeds.

The life of a sugar maple tree.
Red Maple

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    The maples near me are all sugar maples and I have seen seeds fall off of the maples during the spring. I have never seen maple flowers. The spring also happens to be when I plant some of the viable maple seeds that fall off.
    – Caters
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 18:57
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    @Caters - That doesn't mean the tree flowered in the fall and held it's seeds till the spring. They just didn't fall off in the fall for whatever reason. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 19:00

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