Red maple (Acer rubrum)

Red maple leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Red maple.



Medium-size shade tree, height 40' to 65' with diameters of 10" to 24"; broad, round crown; moderately long, clear trunk.


Smooth, light gray on young stems, dark gray and rough on old limbs and trunk; old bark divided by shallow, flaky ridges at surface, making tree look shaggy.


Simple, opposite on stem, length 2" to 4"; has three- to five-pointed saw toothed lobes separated by sharp angular openings; upper surface is light green when mature; lower surface is whitish and partly covered with pale down; first of the maples to turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. Winter buds are small, red, and somewhat rounded.

Fruit (seed)

Consists of U-shaped pairs of winged seeds (samaras), 1/2" to 1" in length, on long, drooping stems; red, reddish brown, or yellow; ripens in late spring or early summer.


Distributed throughout the eastern half of the state as far south as Houston County and west to a line running south from Mahnomen to Redwood Falls; shade tolerant, moderately fast growing.

Wood uses

Heavy, close-grained, rather weak, light brown; used in the manufacture of cheap furniture, woodenware, and fuel; wood has little commercial value; the bark is sometimes used in dyeing. Shape and beautiful foliage colors make this an important ornamental tree.

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