P1060769

February 9, 2014 red maples all in bloom

P1010072Acer rubrum

Tree/perennial

Native:  L48, Canada

Blooming:  January, February, red

Location:  N30 00.048′ W084 00.048′ (.9RL), N30 00.050’W084 33.021′ (1RR). N 30 00.416’W084 33.744′(2.85RL)

One of the earliest signs of springs, this plant is polygamo-dioecious, either entirely male, entirely female, or both male and female.  So you will see some trees with only red leaves in the spring, and others with winged seed, called samara, and others with both.  The flowers are so tiny one must photograph them before the tiny samara have formed, which we were unable to do this spring.

Early settlers used extract from the bark for ink and also for cinnamon/black and black dyes.

Native Americans used the plant extensively.  Medicinally it was used for menstrual cramps, sore eyes, hives, dysentery,measles and in a complex recipe as a blood purifier.  The Seminoles use it also for “ballgame sickness”, back and limb pains and hemorrhoids.  Nonmedicinal uses were as sweeteners and the bark pounded into a meal by the Iroquois. The wood was made into spoons by Seminoles, arrowheads and ox yokes.   Other tribes used this species to make furnitues, basketry and bowls.

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