The image above is of a cluster of the Big Leaf Maple´s winged seeds (Samaras) that detach in pairs and are blown by the wind like little helicopter blades. As you can see from the picture there are quite a few in each cluster.
Some of the leaves were starting to turn a bright yellow color although the only decent shot was of one of the leaves I found lying on the ground. It apprears to me that the leaves are larger and have sharper points on young trees while the leaves on more mature trees are a bit smaller and have more rounded tips. At any rate the leaves are quite large with some measuring 12 inches in diameter.
The Big Leaf Maple tree is often found growing allong streams and near waterfalls. I have seen them all along the Columbia River Gorge as well as near the waterfalls of Silver Creek Falls State Park. Their proximity to the falls and the constant water spray that is produced produces and moss and fern covering that is typical for this tree species. On some of the trees in is practically imposible to see the bark of the tree.
I did however find a few trees where the moss did not cover the whole trunk and was able to take this picture of what the bark looks like on a mature tree that was about 2 feet in diameter.
This sign (below) is located in the Multnomah falls visitor center reads...
"This deciduous tree has the largest leaves of any native in our area. The leaves are commonly six to ten inches long with five lobes. Palmate veins radiate from the petiole. Clusters of yellow-green flowers appear in spring. The winged seeds are wind dependent for dispersal and are often seen floating like "helicopters" in the fall winds."
Other Maple trees that I have posted about are the Vine Maple, the Red Maple, the Boxelder Maple, Sycamore Maple and the Montpellier Maple.