Have I neglected the backyard garden this much in the last few weeks? This morning when I opened the backdoor, I was surprised to see the grounds covered by mysterious coin-shaped objects. They were clearly seeds — seeds wearing papery, gossamer skirts. Sure, I have seen them before, but not so many all at once.
They parachuted from my neighbor’s golden elm tree - an elm native to northern America. These seeds grow in densely-packed clusters. When the wind blows, some of them break free from the cluster, and tumble down to the ground in complicated spiral trajectories, rolling and whirling as they glide in the air. The skirts, which are mostly flat except for two gentle twists at the tip, are responsible for the complex aerodynamics.
The most curious part of these seeds is obviously the beautiful patterns of the veins in the skirts (samara). They almost look like tiny animals with hearts and circulation systems.