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Acer rubrum

Object Details

Description
Long valued for its beautiful fall foliage, showy flowers, and red samaras, the red maple is a very common tree in the eastern US. A. rubrum is such a successful grower that some argue it is the most abundant tree in the east, and is on its way to replacing other historically common trees in eastern US forests, earning the tree its spot on the Weeds of the Northeast list. Despite this, due to its beauty and ability to grow quickly in diverse conditions, red maples are still commonly planted as landscaping trees, and have been developed into several cultivars.
Hardiness
-40 - 30 F
Bloom Time
March to April
Ethnobotanical Uses
Sap can be used to make syrup, but sugar maple is more common. Pioneers made brown and black dyes from the bark, which could also be used to make ink.
Medicinal / Pharmaceutical
Some Native American groups used bark as an analgesic, a wash for inflamed eyes and cataracts, and for hives and muscular aches. Tea made from the inner bark could be used to treat coughs and diarrhea.
Provenance
Uncertain
Range
Texas to E. US; E. Canada
Habitat
Mixed deciduous forests, along rivers and lakes, marches, swamps, sandy plains, rocky slopes; 0-900 meters
Topic
Trees
Living Collections
See more items in
Smithsonian Gardens Tree Collection
On Display
Anacostia Community Museum
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Accession Number
2011-0319A
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Common Name
Red Maple
Canadian Maple
Scarlet Maple
Swamp Maple
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Rosanae
Order
Sapindales
Family
Sapindaceae
Genus
Acer
Species
rubrum
Life Form
Deciduous tree
Average Height
40-70', can reach over 100'
Bark Characteristics
First year twigs: bright red; young: smooth, light gray; mature: scaly gray brown bark
Fall Color
Greenish yellow to vibrant red
Foliage Characteristics
Opposite, 3-5 lobed, dark green above, bluish beneath, lobes triangular-ovate, unevenly notched serrate and acute; 2-4" long
Fruit Characteristics
Samaras, .75" long, wings at acute angles; often have some red color; observed to be ripe in June
Key ID Characteristics
Ash gray bark; clusters of flower buds; old bark not as shaggy or silvery as A. saccharinum; leaf shape; twigs have odor when broken
Structure
Pyramidal or elliptical when young; spreads with age and develops to more rounded or oval
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax72fed039b-c7e2-4e2d-8ced-44a44fe67703
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2011-0319A
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
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