For the soul looking for signs of spring after a long winter, aside from the daffodils and crocuses, there are a number of trees that flower in early spring before the leaves come out in May.
Trees can have large showy flowers, like those on a Catalpa, Magnolia or Apple tree, or smaller more discrete flowers like those on Maples, Elms, and Birches. Tree flowers can produce pollen or seed or both.
Some trees will distribute pollen through wind, like Birches. Others will rely on assistance of bees and other insects, such as apple trees. Beetles are thought to be one of the first non-wind pollinators. Flies, are another pollinator that often reach some of the hardest to find flowers.
Tree flowers add visual interest and enjoyment to a landscape from April through July. One of the treats of the season is an apple orchard in bloom. But some of my favorites, including Maple and Elm, are harbingers of the promise of warmer weather, green landscapes, and the return of the summer sun.