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Acer rubrum

Common Names: Red Maple, Swamp Maple
Acer rubrum
Acer rubrum

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Species: Acer rubrum

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Red maple is a medium sized tree, often growing to 80 feet.

This tree’s bark is dark gray and often, but not always, will have a ringed circular pattern on it. This pattern is caused by a fungus infection, but is characteristic of red maple trees.

Red maples have opposite branching. Leaves on red maples are opposite and simple. They’re 2-8" long with 3-5 lobes and have finely toothed edges. The underside is lighter.

The red maple gets its name from the many red colors on different parts of the tree. Early leaves in the spring are redish, buds and twigs are red in the winter, and in the fall the leaves turn a bright red.

Habitat & Range

Red maples’ range reaches across much of the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada.

Red maples will establish themselves in disturbed areas such as old fields and open areas within a forest. This tree is resistant to wet areas, and can frequently be found near swamp land, giving it its other common name, the swamp maple.

Red maples can be viewed in the far southeastern corner of Smith Woods in Trumansburg New York.

Life Cycle

Buds of this tree appear before leaves do in the spring. Red maples bloom early, and the female flowers are bright red, while male flowers are yellow to red.

Seeds are lightweight, and dispursed by the wind. They are paired, in a “samara” shape, and red when first growing.

Featured image by James Dake.


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