Regular readers of this blog may remember a post I did last week about yellow violets. I had originally gone out looking for a tree with little tiny white flowers that my husband had told me about. I couldn't find the tree, however, and I kept going further and further until I stopped and looked down and saw a yellow violet.
Oh, excuse me for a moment. If you've arrived on this blog for the first time, this is about as thrilling as it gets, okay? I warned you in the masthead of this blog to not get too excited. So if you're looking for excitement, you still have some searching to do. But if you're looking for some quiet and some nature, with a little bit of inter-species love and slutty broodmares thrown in, well you have arrived, my friend.
Anyway, back to the weird flower tree.
I went back the next day and found the tree and took some pictures, bringing a little branch home to help me identify it. And just this morning, we think we've identified this tree. Unfortunately, we can't find my husband's dendrology book from college, which is a really good source of information. So we're going with The Audubon Society's Field Guide to North American Trees. Not so good, mainly because it's a field guide, but by jove, I think we've got it.
The Latin name, Acer rubrum is also known as Red Maple, Swamp Maple, Soft Maple or Scarlet Maple. The tree we found is growing on the edge of the field, near a swampy area. I love how the little seed pods hang and if you look closely, you'll see the white that my husband was thinking of when he mentioned a little white flower. You can also see why I just passed this tree by. I was looking for white flowers and didn't see any.
I learned so many things from Wikepedia, too. The Red Maple is used for the production of maple syrup, although a harder maple is preferred. Red Maples are considered soft woods in the lumber industry. The wood is close grained and as such it is similar to that of other maples, but its texture is softer, less dense, and has a poorer figure and machining qualities. High grades of wood from the red maple can be substituted for hard maple, particularly when it comes to making furniture.
One thing we did find out which was a little alarming was that the leaves of the red maple, especially when dried or wilted, are toxic to horses.
Well, that's my little lesson for today. I just think the seed pods are an interesting subject.
It's a damp day here in Maryland, as we had some rain last night. The fields are lush green against the dark wood of the fencelines and trees and it's absolutely beautiful. Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.Update: See April 28 post for correct identification on this tree. It's actually a Striped Maple.