Fast Fact: Samaras

You probably call these helicopters or whirligigs, but these little things are actually called samaras, and they are the seeds from maple trees. Each spring, they fall from the treetops, gently winging their way to the ground because of their unique design. Their ability to “fly” is what makes them so fun to watch. True to their nickname, they gently whirl their way down to the ground.

(Photo via Shutterstock)

All maple trees produce these winged seeds, but Norway maples, red maples and silver maples produce them in the largest numbers. If you have a maple tree in your yard, you can count on samaras for hours of springtime fun. Even after they have fallen to the ground, you can throw them up in the air and watch as they helicopter back down. And if conditions are just right, those fallen samaras may just grow into a new maple tree.