Red maple (Acer rubrum) is a medium to large deciduous tree often 70’ tall (maximum 179’) with a branch-free trunk for half its length and narrow, short crown. Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, relatively small for a maple (4” long) with three triangular lobes and toothed edges. Twigs are reddish with blunt red buds. Bark on young trunks is smooth and gray. Bark on older trunks is rough in long narrow plates forming ridges. Flowers are red to yellow, short-stemmed clusters that appear very early in spring before leaves. Common in nearly pure stands in wet wooded swamps and pond edges and scattered in all upland woods. Named for the strong red tones to virtually all parts of the tree, especially twigs, flowers, and fall leaves. The red maple has one of the widest latitudinal ranges of any North American trees. This species is named for the strong red tones to virtually all parts of the tree, esp. twigs, flowers and fall leaves. Its soft wood is used to make furniture; maple syrup has been made from its sap. It was first cultivated in Europe in 1656.
Common name: Red Maple, Scarlet Maple, Swamp Maple, Soft Maple
Scientific Name (family and order): Acer rubrum L. (Sapindaceae, Sapindales)
Species Origin: E North America
New Jersey Status: USDA Native
Habit: 60 -80’ tall x 50’ wide Bole 1 – 2 ½’ diameter.
Habitat: Zones 3 – 9.
Trunk/Stem: Bark dark gray smooth but becoming rough in long narrow plates forming ridges like Silver Maple.
Leaves: Deciduous, Simple, Opposite. 4” long 4” wide, (relatively small for a maple tree) three to five toothed lobes dark green ad smooth above; blue-white with hairs below. Turning red or yellow in autumn. Petioles red
Flowers: Monoecious. Short red peduncles in flower clusters. Flowers small red in dense corymbs. Female flowers red, male flowers yellowish appearing before the leaves in early spring.
Fruits and seeds: Fruits suspended by long pedicel. Double samara with variable angle between the two.