Acer rubrum L.

  • Family: Aceraceae (the maples)
  • Common name: red maple

    Tree to 20 m (65 ft) tall and 50 cm (18 in) diameter, with narrow compact crown. Bark gray and thin, becoming furrowed into long narrow scaly ridges on older trunks and branches. Twigs slender, reddish brown, glabrous, with small dark red blunt buds. Leaves opposite, long-petioled, blades 6-10 cm (2.4-4 in) long and usually about as wide, with 3 shallow short-pointed lobes, sometimes with two smaller lobes near the base, dull green and glabrous above, whitish and more or less hairy below, turning red, orange, and yellow in fall. Flowers several in clusters on long stalks in late winter or early spring, pink to dark red, about 3 mm (0.1 in) long. Fruits paired samaras 2-2.5 cm (0.8-1 in) long clustered on long stalks, red to red-brown.

    Distribution: The species is widespread in mixed hardwood forests and is native to much of the eastern United States.
    Habitat: moist or wet hardwood forests, mostly in the Ozark and Ouachita mountains.
    Comment: Red maple is usually a small tree and is not commercially important. The seeds are eaten by squirrels and birds. Acer is the old Latin name for maples; rubrum refers to the red color of flowers, petioles, and the Fall color of the leaves.
    NWI status: FAC

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/7/99
    Go to Oklahoma Biological Survey Home Page