What Type of Tree Has Helicopter Seeds?

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Helicopter seedpods, also called “samaras,” are produced by maple trees. The pods vary in size and shape depending on the species of tree, but all maples produce some version of the distinctive seedpod.

Samaras, or “maple keys,” are dropped in late summer or early fall before the trees have lost their leaves. The twirling motion allows the wind to carry the pods a considerable distance, allowing for superior seed dispersal. Worldwide, there are approximately 128 species of maple. The majority are found in Asia, but they are also found in North America, northern Africa and Europe. With the exception of one species, all are native to the Northern Hemisphere.