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.
1 - 3pm
A Walk in the Woods
423 N. Main St.
Photographer and editor Ruthie Rosauer will be on hand to autograph copies of her book, THESE TREES. The book, a compilation of 140 trees photos paired with poems, has been described as "A gorgeous book, a heart-opening photo collection."