Bigleaf maple

Silhouette - bigleaf maple
  • Latin name: Acer macrophyllum Pursh
  • French name: Érable à grandes feuilles
  • Synonym(s): Oregon maple , broadleaf maple
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 28748
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - bigleaf maple

Form

  • 5 lobes
  • Central lobe narrows toward base
  • Sometimes overlapping with lateral lobes
  • Central and lateral lobes separated by U-shaped notches
  • Lower surface hairless

Length

  • Almost as long as wide

Width

  • 15–30 (sometimes 60) cm

Colour

  • Upper surface shiny dark green
  • Lower surface paler

Autumn colour

  • Bright orange or yellow 

Margin

  • Teeth irregular, blunt, wavy

Petiole

  • Exudes a milky sap when cut

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - bigleaf maple

Form

  • Terminal bud present, blunt
  • 3–4 pairs of overlapping scales
  • Leaf scars with 5–9 vein scars

Length

  • 6–9 mm

Colour

  • Greenish to reddish

Twigs

  • Winter twig - bigleaf maple

Form

  • Stout, hairless

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Flowers

Form

  • Sepals small
  • Fragrant
  • Many-flowered drooping racemes

Length

  • Stalks 10–15 cm

Width

  • 10 mm

Colour

  • Greenish-yellow

Structure

  • Polygamo-monoecious

Floral timing

  • Before the leaves

Fruits

  • Fruit - bigleaf maple

Form

  • Seedcase swollen, hairy
  • Keys in elongated drooping clusters

Structure

  • Samara
  • In joined pairs

Bark

Form

  • Shallowly furrowed into narrow scaly ridges
  • Often covered with mosses, liverworts, ferns

Colour

  • Greyish-brown

Wood

Texture

  • Moderately hard, weak

Colour

  • Light brown

Uses

  • Furniture, flooring, musical instruments
  • Interior paneling

Size

Height

  • To 30 m

Diameter

  • To 100 cm

Maximum age

  • 250 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - bigleaf maple

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Straight
  • Often branch-free for one-half or more of height 

Crown

  • Narrow  

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Divides into large spreading and ascending limbs

Crown

  • Broad, rounded

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Moist, coarse, gravelly soils

Light tolerance

  • Moderately shade-tolerant

Associated species

  • Red alder, black cottonwood, Douglas-fir, western redcedar, western hemlock

Range

Coastal British Columbia and Vancouver Island
The only tree-size native maple on the Pacific coast

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Bigleaf maple
  • Bigleaf maple
  • Bigleaf maple
  • Bigleaf maple
  • Bigleaf maple
  • Bigleaf maple
Distribution map
Distribution map - bigleaf maple
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