Characteristics of Red Maple Tree (Acer rubrum) in the Wild

Acer rubrum
Red maple or Scarlet maple (Acer rubrum) is one of the most widespread species of deciduous trees in the eastern United States and Canada. The tree has red leaves throughout the fall.

Red maple is a popular ornamental tree and is widely planted in yards, roadsides, parking areas, city parks, and other public areas. The tree is also used commercially on a small scale for the production of maple syrup as well as for medium to high-quality wood.

Red maple is considered invasive in disturbed forests, especially forests that are frequently logged. In northern hardwood forests filled with old trees, Red maples are rare.

 

Characteristics of Red Maple Leaf

Acer rubrum Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/jjmiller

The leaves are relatively small and narrow, having five lobes, with the lowest two lobes being vaguely formed. The leaf lobes are directed forward. The diameter of the leaf blade is about 10 cm, the leaf edge is serrated, the upper side of the leaf is dark green, the underside is lighter and slightly bluish or whitish.

 

Characteristics of Red Maple Flower

Acer rubrum Flower
Source: inaturalist.org/adiamond

The flowers are single-sex, with male and female flowers in separate clusters, though usually on the same tree.

The flowers appear long before the leaves sprout, are red, and united in dense inflorescences on slender stems.

 

Characteristics of Red Maple Fruit

Acer rubrum Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/bmiller001

The fruit is red to brown to yellow, 15-25 mm long, ripe after leaf bud and can only germinate for a short time.

 

Characteristics of Red Maple Tree

Acer rubrum Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/jjmiller

Red maple grows as a medium-sized tree with a height of up to 30 meters (rarely 40 meters), and a trunk diameter of up to 1 meter. The crown is oval and not too dense. The bark of young twigs is green, then turns shiny brown. On older branches and stems, the bark is gray-brown and smooth. Very old specimens develop bark with narrow longitudinal grooves.

The root system is shallow and tends to grow sideways. Most young tree roots are no deeper than 25 cm. Its root system is highly adaptable to different soil conditions and is also resistant to drought and flooding.

Red maple trees can live between 100-200 years in optimal conditions.

 

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