Wings of fire

My Japanese maple 'Fireglow' (or whatever it really is) has been very impressive this year. I wrote about it earlier this spring, but it's still spectacular. Not only has it finally filled out after five years in the ground, but it's producing seeds like crazy.

Just as the young leaves really capture the light and give 'Fireglow' its name, the winged seeds do too.


I've always called maple seeds "helicopters" because of the way that the silver maple seeds twirl their way to the ground. The seeds on this tree most likely don't do any twirling, as they're at most six feet off the ground, so I hesitate to give them the same nickname.

Some seeds must have made it to the ground last year, because while weeding around the base of this tree recently I found a seedling!

Actually I found three of them by the time I was finished, so I carefully dug them up and put them into pots.

Each of them looks slightly different, which could be because of the amount of light each was receiving rather than genetic variation. I'll have to wait until they're larger before I can tell if there are any real differences.

I'm quite excited about this, and based on the much larger number of seeds on the tree this year, look forward to finding more seedlings next year too!

For now though I'm just enjoying these little wings of fire decorating an already beautiful tree.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 7, 2011 at 11:18 AM)  

Truly beautiful tree! I routinely find dozens of seedlings from our upright green Acer palmatum. I just potted one up for the first time.

greggo  – (May 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM)  

I curious if that tree is grafted, and if the would perform like the parent or the rootstock. Most dissectum varieties I've seen are grafted. It will be interesting to find out. Like to have some of the mature seeds too.

Barbir  – (May 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM)  

What a gorgeous tree!! And the colour is just a photographers delight!! Nice pics, by the way!! I'm envious!

Bom  – (May 7, 2011 at 10:00 PM)  

That looks fantastic! The colors are so vibrant.

Alan  – (May 8, 2011 at 7:57 AM)  

Thanks all!

Gerhard: pot more of those up! Sounds like a trade plant I'd be interested in. :-)

Greggo: I'd be surprised if it wasn't grafted. I'll be glad to send you seeds -- do I wait until they fall from the tree? Email me with your address and I'll send some.

Owen  – (May 8, 2011 at 8:09 AM)  

I think you can expect a good bit of variation in the offspring, even if the tree self-pollinated. The cultivars people buy are usually vegetative clones, because reproducing cultivars sexually is unreliable. Example: if you plant the seeds from a Granny Smith apple and grow the trees to maturity, you probably won't get Granny Smith apples from them.

The red leaf with green veins is really pretty. How about some pictures of the adult tree?

Anonymous –   – (May 8, 2011 at 8:13 AM)  

What gorgeous photographs!

Alan  – (May 8, 2011 at 8:14 AM)  

Owen: there's a link to some photos of the tree as the leaves were emerging in the first paragraph of the post. I'll take more photos soon before the leaves start to green up.

Cat  – (May 8, 2011 at 5:09 PM)  

Wow! I just love Japanese maples - they never disappoint, especially in the sunlight!

Casa Mariposa  – (May 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM)  

What a beautiful tree!! Hopefully, those seedlings won't take over!

Sheila  – (May 9, 2011 at 8:26 AM)  

The seed packets (helicopters) are beautiful! The longer I garden, the more I appreciate the miracle of seedlings ...

Teresa  – (December 9, 2011 at 11:47 PM)  

Any chance I could purchase a few seeds from you? I am having a really tough time finding them. Thanks :)

Alan  – (December 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM)  

Teresa: email me (contact info on my "about" page) and I'll send you some.

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