Acer rubrum 2
For the aspiring botanist, red maple can be hard to distinguish from silver maple in the winter and early spring. Both have reddish twigs and buds, smooth gray stems, and are often found growing side by side. One distinguishing difference is the fruit. Though both disperse like helicopters, the red maple does it with decidedly a red aura, contrasting with the light green samaras of the silver maple. Before the fruit arrives, though, one of the handiest i.d. tool is the fetid aroma of a crushed silver maple twig. The red maples smells more like…well, your average tree.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Pineo
Location: University of Delaware Botanic Garden