Explain how the Maple tree has adapted to its environment.


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Maple trees have a number of adaptations to ensure their survival and operation. They have broad leaves to capture the maximum amount of sunlight for photosynthesis. However, they lose these leaves in the winter, thus cutting down on the water loss. Since there is less sunlight during the winter time, maple trees stay dormant and save energy. These trees have reproductive adaptations as well. The seeds of maple trees have wing-like structures, which allow them to be dropped further away from the parent tree and thus increases the chance of the seedlings escaping from predators and/or disease and competition from the parent plant. The roots of these plants are branched out, thus maximizing their water and nutrient uptake from the soil. Some varieties of maple are also shade resistant. That is, new plants can grow easily in the shade of other trees, ensuring better survival.

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How did the maple tree adapt to its woodland environment?

There are many species of maple trees and they have a range through most of United State, Europe, and part of Asia.  Most species of maples are deciduous trees, which means they shed their leaves in fall and are dormant in the winter, thus conserving energy.  The leaves are broad for a large surface area available to collect sunlight energy to be used for photosynthesis.

They have a fibrous root system, which means that they have many small roots.  This allows them to stretch their roots out over a large area in order to gather in enough water and nutrients to support the tree.  They can also produce root sprouts, which is another way for the tree to reproduce in addition to seeds.

Reproduction by root sprouts does not produce the genetic variation that seeds do, but it allows the parent tree to support the growth of the younger tree.  This give the younger tree a better chance at survival.  Most young trees are shade resistant so being in the shadow of the parent tree does not hurt it.

Maple trees flower in the late winter to early spring.  This is a time when not many other things are blooming, so honeybees are especially dependent on them.  This also means that the maple tree attracts a lot of honeybees for pollination.  The seeds have "wings" that are able to catch the wind and spin as they fall.  This allows the many seeds produced by a single maple tree to be spread over great distances, thus increasing the chances that at least some of them will survive.

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