When I used to drive past trees in the Spring and saw them colored so beautifully, I used to assume those colors were due to buds and flowers. Lately I have been looking more closely -- and have discovered that much of what I used to perceive as flowers are actually 'samaras.'
Samaras are technically known as 'winged achenes' which means they are composed of a bit of papery tissue attached to a dry fruit containing a seed. These samaras are dispersed by the wind. They are also known as: wingnuts, helicopters, whirlybirds and whirligigs.
In my ignorance, I also thought that the only types of trees to produce samaras were maples. They are also produced by elms, ash and bushwillow trees. Apparently the samaras of the Siberian Elms are edible, but I don't intend to try them any time soon.
On a related note, I called these winged seeds "samsaras" for years. Until today, actually. But I think it is worth sharing that the word "samsara" is used in the Hindu and Buddhist belief systems to mean the cycle of of death and rebirth. Which seems somehow fitting for these flying seeds of the trees which throw their fates to the winds in hopes of rebirth.
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.
October 13 from
11am - 3pm
Mountain Made Gallery
Old Airport Rd.
November 16 - 18
"Tis the Season"
Holiday Fair at
David Event Center
761 New Boyleston Highway
333 Thompson St.