The tree comes into flower before the leaves, normally in March, but this year in February following the mild winter. The tree in this photos has only female flowers.
A female flower bud that has just opened. Some trees have all female flowers, some all male and some have both. The flowers are wind-pollinated so have no petals. Each bud opens to reveal several flowers. A single female flower extends 2 long red stigmas to catch wind-blown pollen. They are connected to a single ovary which eventually forms a 2-winged fruit called a samara. The fruits hang down like a Sycamore.
Female flower buds are located along or at the end of twigs.
When the female flower bud first opens the stigmas are white, then turn red.