Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Time to take to the wind!

Let's say you are in a game of darts in which the first person to hit the bulls-eye wins. Would you throw as many darts as possible in hopes of eventually hitting the target? If so, your strategy is like that used by a maple to reproduce. The tree's fruit, the double samaras, have very few stored nutrients for the seeds they contain. Fortunately, however, the maple produces lots and lots of offspring, making it statistically more probable that at least some of them will end up in a favourable site and mature. This quantity-based approach is called r-selection.

These double samaras look like helicopters; when they fall, they are carried by the wind away from the mother tree. This wind dispersal is called anemochory (Dissemination under the action of wind.).

Photo of a red maple (Acer rubrum) branch with lots of fruit, the samaras
Acer rubrum
© Jardin botanique de Montréal (Normand Fleury)
Previous picture1  2  3  4  5  6  7Next Picture