Common Name: Red Maple
Scientific Name: Acer rubrum
Species Range: As one of the most abundant native trees in eastern North America, the red maple ranges from southeastern Ontario down to Florida and over to eastern Texas. It grows in a wide variety of habitats including wet areas, along streams, in floodplains, moist deciduous woodlands, and drier upland areas.
Growth Characteristics: Reaching heights of 60-90 feet, the deciduous red maple has incredibly colorful leaves all year long, whether it be various shades of green in the summer months or deep reds and yellows in the autumn. The shapes of the leaves can also vary between to 3-5 distinct lobes. It has small red flowers that appear in the early spring before the leaves grow back and a reddish-brown samara fruit with ¾ inch long paired wings that mature in spring.
Ecosystem Service Value: The fruit and leaves provide food for various small birds, rodents, rabbits, and deer. Cavities in the trunk can provide shelter to small animals such as the wood duck.
Uses, Other Details: It is mostly used as an ornamental tree but its wood is also used for pulpwood and fuelwood.
Threats: The red maple is highly susceptible to diseases and pests.
Species profile by Billie Rogers
Kirkman, L. Katherine., et al. Native Trees of the Southeast: An Identification Guide. Timber Press, 2007.
“Red Maple Acer rubrum.” Arbor Day Foundation, https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?itemID=867. Retrieved November 14, 2020.