Bigleaf maples have small, yellow-green flowers with short stalks. The flowers grow in a cluster that hangs downward like a pendant as it develops. Interestingly, bigleaf maples have two mating types. As the flower clusters emerge and start blooming, the initial flowers that open on the first type of tree are female; on the second type, it is the males. As the cluster grows, the male flowers will begin to emerge on the female flower clusters, and the females will start to develop and open on the male flower clusters. Each tree contains both male and female flowers, making it monoecious.

These flowers are a great nectar and pollen source for insects. As I took these photos, the blossoms were buzzing with activity. Male and female flowers both produce nectar, so pollination occurs as the insects move between the two types.

Beekeepers who have honeybees love it when warm, sunny weather coincides with the blooming of bigleaf maple trees. A strong colony of bees can produce enough honey to harvest some in the spring. To my tastebuds, honey made from the nectar of bigleaf maple trees has a distinctive peach flavor. It’s yummy!

Nature is an inexhaustible source of wonder. I look forward to seeing you out there.

See more of Bryan’s work here.


Wagner, David H., A Lane County Almanac. Northwest Botanical Institute, 2021.