Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sycamore Keys

Recently I agreed to take part in doing a drawing each day during August.  I am really enjoying this and so far have managed to produce a little sketch every day.  

Over the last week or so, I have been noticing signs of Autumn, in the hedgerows and trees and in the heavy dews in the morning, so I thought I would pick an Autumny thing to draw for today.  The keys on my Sycamore tree are turning brown and are gathered in huge clumps amongst the leaves, and I chose these for my drawing.   I plucked a stem and began to draw - but noticed that there were three wings and seeds on some of the keys.  I wondered if I had found a lucky one, like a four leaved clover, and went to the tree to see.  There were lots of three winged, four winged and six winged keys!

I've certainly learned something new today, I always thought there were only two lobes per key.  This is the wonder of drawing, making me look closely and carefully rather than making assumptions. 

Whatever you call them ... samaras, whirligigs, spinning jennies, helicopters or keys... these incredible aeronautical seed-carrying spinners can be seen throughout autumn, and have cleverly evolved for best seed dispersal and effectively maximising the seed's chances of becoming a new tree.

 I wonder if the tree knows something, and that it is going to be a very windy Autumn and Winter, (or not windy) so has made some keys with extra wings?  Or is this normal?  I would be very interested to hear what your trees are doing.

All the drawings from the 'drawing a day in August' group can be found at #ippdailydraw.


  1. Loving these whirligigs - your photos have captured a moment that is easily missed -the colour contrasts are beautiful - thanks for sharing observations noticed through your drawing Jennifer

    1. They are beautiful things aren't they Stef, get better the more I look too! I dissected one to see what the seed looked like - the wings are so insect like aren't they?


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