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Red maple

Acer rubrum

Between late winter and early spring, an abundance of small red flowers covers the bare branches of this deciduous tree and soon yields clusters of dangling two-winged samaras. The wings of a samara cause it to spin like a helicopter as it falls, slowing its descent and helping wind currents disperse the seeds away from the parent tree. Red maple foliage provides cover for birds and food for many caterpillars including the rosy maple moth. Deer and rabbits eat young shoots, and the seeds are a source or nourishment for squirrels and birds.