Red maple

Silhouette - red maple
  • Latin name: Acer rubrum L.
  • French name: Érable rouge
  • Synonym(s): Swamp maple , soft maple
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 28728
  • NA3 , C3
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - red maple

Form

  • 3–5 lobes
  • Sides of central lobe almost parallel to the midvein
  • Central and lateral lobes separated by wide, shallow, angular notches   

Length

  • 5–15 cm

Width

  • Almost as wide as long

Colour

  • Upper surface light green
  • Lower surface whitened

Autumn colour

  • Bright red

Margin

  • Teeth sharp, irregular

Petiole

  • 5–10 cm

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - red maple
  • Clustered flower buds on dwarf shoots - red maple

Form

  • Terminal bud present, smooth, shiny
  • Flower buds stout

Length

  • Terminal bud 3–4 mm, almost twice as long as wide

Colour

  • Reddish

Twigs

  • Winter twig - red maple

Form

  • Hairless
  • Dwarf shoots bearing clusters of flower buds on most branches

Colour

  • Shiny red to greyish-brown

Flowers

Form

  • 5 very small petals and sepals
  • In tassel-like clusters (racemes)
  • Stalks slender

Structure

  • Polygamo-monoecious

Floral timing

  • Late winter, before the leaves appear
  • One of the earliest maple species to flower

Fruits

  • Fruit - red maple

Form

  • Angle between wings about 60°
  • Seedcase swollen
  • Keys shed individually
  • Mature in early summer

Length

  • Wings 12–25 cm

Structure

  • Samara
  • In joined pairs

Bark

Form

  • Smooth when young
  • Developing scaly ridges fastened at the centre and loose at the ends

Colour

  • Light grey when young, becoming dark greyish-brown

Wood

Texture

  • Moderately heavy, hard, strong

Colour

  • Light brown

Morphology

  • Rays scarcely visible on a tangential face

Size

Height

  • To 25 m

Diameter

  • To 60 cm

Maximum age

  • 100 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - red maple

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Straight, often branch-free for half its height

Crown

  • Short, narrow

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Divides near the ground into a few ascending limbs
  • Branches widely diverging and ascending

Crown

  • Long, dense

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Typically swamps and other moist soils
  • Thrives on a variety of soils and sites

Light tolerance

  • Moderately shade-tolerant

Range

Forests of eastern North America as far south as Florida

Insects and diseases

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

Photos
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
  • Red maple
Distribution map
Distribution map - red maple
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