Samaras in the sun

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
December 10, 2018

Samaras in the sun

Acer samaras

This past week has been an unbroken streak of sunshine and intense blue skies in Boston, with crisp cold temperatures—perfect for extended walks in the Arnold Arboretum. As I wandered in the Maple Collection, one tree took my breath away, an Amur maple, Acer tataricum ssp. ginnala (701-63*E), whose translucent membranous winged fruits (samaras) collectively […]

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Stop and smell the ginkgo seeds

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
November 4, 2017

Stop and smell the ginkgo seeds

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When I look at these pictures, I can practically smell them! And my hope is that you will take my advice and go smell for yourself. Because, no one can be said to truly know the ginkgo without experiencing the aroma of the seeds right about now. Ginkgo biloba is dioecious, with separate seed-bearing trees and […]

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Fall Color and Seed Dispersal

by Ana Maria Caballero, Nature Education Specialist
October 3, 2016

Fall Color and Seed Dispersal

teachers drop seeds

Boston Area Educators Investigate Leaf Color and Seed Dispersal The following comments were heard this past Saturday morning in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall: “A bird with outstretched wings somersaulting through the air.” “A twirling ballerina.” “It rotates while it revolves.” “A fairy fall.” No, this was not part of some elaborate circus performance. Instead, […]

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A close-up of Chinese catalpa

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
November 15, 2015

A close-up of Chinese catalpa

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This week at the Arnold Arboretum, Catalpa ovata (the Chinese or yellow catalpa) is beginning to release its stunning lighter-than-air seeds from hundreds of foot-long skinny pods. The trees are otherwise bare, leaves shed earlier in the fall, and each forlorn tree looks as if covered with woody icicles swaying in the breeze (bottom right, […]

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Seed dispersal in a magnolia: before and after

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
September 5, 2015

Seed dispersal in a magnolia: before and after

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Late summer is a time of ephemeral events in the Arnold Arboretum, matched only by the intensity and rapidity of spring flowering. Pines, larches, magnolias, spindle trees (Euonymus), and many others are literally disgorging their seeds for dispersal by the wind, birds, and other animals. How quickly do things change? Take a look at the […]

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