Maple trees reproduce by shedding their twin seed pods, which are then dispersed in the wind before germinating where they land. These pods are called "helicopters" because the wind causes them to spin like the rotor on a helicopter as they drift gently down to the ground below.Continue Reading
Catching one of these helicopters and opening it up reveals a pair of seeds, connected by two wings that are so thin that they are almost undetectable. These seeds represent the fruit that comes from a maple tree.
The wings on the seed pods allow them to drift in the air longer, creating a wider dispersal zone from the parent tree. Once the pods hit the ground, they enter the soil through a number of processes, including the softening of the soil by the rain, having animals or people step on them and push them into the soil, and other environmental effects.
The maple tree thrives only in certain temperate zones. In North America, maples grow in southern Canada and portions of New England, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio, New Hampshire and Vermont. The reason for this limited growth area is that nighttime and daytime temperatures have to fall within a certain range year-round. Also, the formation of frost is crucial in the development of the maple tree.Learn more about Botany