Red Maple Swamp Maple Soft Maple White Maple
=Habitat and Range.=--Borders of streams, low lands, wet forests,
swamps, rocky hillsides.
Nova Scotia to the Lake of the Woods.
Common throughout New England from the sea to an altitude of 3000 feet
South to southern Florida; west to Dakota, Nebraska, and Texas.
=Habit.=--A medium-sized tree, 40-50 feet high, rising occasionally in
swamps to a height of 60-75 feet; trunk 2-4 feet in diameter, throwing
out limbs at varying angles a few feet from the ground; branches and
branchlets slender, forming a bushy spray, the tips having a slightly
upward tendency; head compact, in young trees usually rounded and
symmetrical, widest just above the point of furcation. In the first warm
days of spring there shimmers amid the naked branches a faint glow of
red, which at length becomes embodied in the abundant scarlet, crimson,
or yellow of the long flowering stems; succeeded later by the brilliant
fruit, which is outlined against the sober green of the foliage till it
pales and falls in June. The colors of the autumn leaves vie in
splendor with those of the sugar maple.
=Bark.=--In young trees smooth and light gray, becoming very dark and
ridgy in large trunks, the surface separating into scales, and in very
old trees hanging in long flakes; young shoots often bright red in
autumn, conspicuously marked with oblong white spots.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds aggregated at or near the ends of the
preceding year's shoots, about 1/8 inch long; protected by dark reddish
scales; inner scales lengthening with the growth of the shoot. Leaves
simple, opposite, 3-4 inches long, green and smooth above, lighter and
more or less pubescent beneath, especially along the veins; turning
crimson or scarlet in early autumn; ovate, 3-5-lobed, the middle lobe
generally the longest, the lower pair (when 5 lobes are present) the
smallest; unequally sharp-toothed, with broad, acute sinuses; apex
acute; base heart-shaped, truncate, or obtuse; leafstalk 1-3 inches
long. The leaves of the red maple vary greatly in size, outline, lobing,
and shape of base.
=Inflorescence.=--April 1-15. Appearing before the leaves in close
clusters encircling the shoots of the previous year, varying in color
from dull red or pale yellow to scarlet; the sterile and fertile flowers
mostly in separate clusters, sometimes on the same tree, but more
frequently on different trees; calyx lobes oblong and obtuse; petals
linear-oblong; pedicels short; stamens 5-8, much longer than the petals
in the sterile and about the same length in the fertile flowers; the
smooth ovary surmounted by a style separating into two much-projecting
=Fruit.=--Fruit ripe in June, hanging on long stems, varying from brown
to crimson; keys about an inch in length, at first convergent, at
maturity more or less divergent.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; found in a wider
range of soils than any other species of the genus, but seeming to
prefer a gravelly or peaty loam in positions where its roots can reach a
constant supply of moisture. It is more variable than any other of the
native maples and consequently is not so good a tree for streets, where
a symmetrical outline and uniform habit are required. It is
transplanted readily, but recovers its vigor more slowly than does the
sugar or silver maple and is usually of slower growth. Its variable
habit makes it an exceedingly interesting tree in the landscape.
3. Branch with sterile flowers.
4. Sterile flower.
5. Branch with sterile and fertile flowers.
6. Fertile flower.
7. Fruiting branch.
8. Variant leaves.
=Acer saccharinum, L.=
Acer dasycarpum, Ehrh.