A samara is a type of fruit in which a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue develops from the ovary wall. A samara is a simple dry fruit and indehiscent (not opening along a seam). The shape of a samara enables the wind to carry the seed away from the parent tree:
- The seed can be in the centre of the wing, as in the elms (genus Ulmus) and the hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata).
- The seed can be on one side, with the wing extending to the other side, making the seed spiral as it falls, as in the maples (genus Acer) and ashes (genus Fraxinus).
A samara is sometimes called a key and is often referred to as a helicopter or whirligig or polynose.
- Spinning Flight : Dynamics of Frisbees, Boomerangs, Samaras and Skipping Stones, Ralph Lorenz, Copernicus New York, September 2006 ISBN 0-387-30779-6