Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

Silver maple photograph; © MN DNR, Welby Smith
Silver maple leaf closeup photograph; © MN DNR


Height 100' or more with a diameter of up to 36" or more; trunk usually short, divided into a number of long ascending limbs that are again divided and their small branches droop but turn upward at tips, forming a broad, rounded crown.


On young branches smooth and varying in color from reddish to a yellowish gray; on old branches dark gray and broken into long flakes or scales.


Simple, opposite on stem, length 4" to 6"; three to five lobes ending in long points with toothed edges and separated by deep, angular openings; pale green on upper surface and silvery underneath; pale yellow to orange in autumn. Buds rounded and red or reddish brown.

Fruit (seed)

A pair of winged seeds (samaras), 1" to 2" long, on slender, flexible, threadlike stems about an inch in length.


Common in southern Minnesota; scattered northward to the upper Mississippi River; moderately shade intolerant, fast growing.