Plant Detail

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Acer rubrum

* Common Name:

red maple, scarlet maple, swamp maple, curled maple, water maple

* Genus:

Acer

* Species:

rubrum

Subspecies:

* Family (scientific):

Aceraceae

* Family (common):

Maple

Synonyms :

Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Acer rubrum var. tomentosum, Acer stenocarpum

* Distribution in Canada:

Manitoba
Ontario
Quebec
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
P.E.I.
Newfoundland

 

Photographer: Bill Moses.

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Habitat

Ecozone(s):

Boreal Shield
Atlantic Maritime
Mixedwood Plains

Natural Habitat(s):

Woodland (35-60% cover)
Forest Edge
Riparian (edge)
Swamp/Marsh (nutrient rich)

Habitat Garden(s):

Butterfly
Bird
Hedgerow / Thicket / Windbreak / Screening
Woodland

Erosion Control? Yes

Characteristics
 
Growing Conditions

* Plant Type:

Tree

Moisture Requirements: Moist, Wet

Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade, Shade

Soil Requirements: Loam, Humus Enriched (forest floor)

Temperature Zone: 3

Evergreen?

No

Average Height:

12 to 25 m

Tolerances:

Compaction Tolerant
Juglones Tolerant

Flower Info
 
Fruit/Seed Info

Showy flowers?

Yes

Showy fruit/seeds?

Yes

Bloom time:

Apr to May

Edible for humans?

No

Flower Colour(s):

Red, Pink

Fruit/Seed Colour(s):

Red, Brown

Miscellaneous
 
Uses

Fragrant Flowers?

No

Urban Oasis, Stewards in the City, and Eco Superior are specific Evergreen programs that some plants are used in.

Fragrant Foliage?

No

Program & Other Uses:

Stewards in the City
Crafts
Weaving
Dyes
Culinary
Medicinal
Aboriginal

Fall colours?

Yes

Distinctive bark?

No

Poisonous to humans?

No

Thorns or prickles?

No

Attracts wildlife?

Squirrels
Birds
Bees
Other Showy Insects

Larval host for:

Rosy maple moth(Dryocampa rubicanda)

Provincial tree/flower?

Plant Watch species?

No

Interesting Tidbits
 
References

Habitat Information: Red Maple is one of the most widespread of all trees in North America. It is an early successional as well as climax forest species. It is able to reproduce very well by seed, colonizing after a fire rapidly. It is a very successful generalist, tolerating a wide variety of soils, sun or shady sites, with the greatest range of conditions, although most common as a bottomland deciduous tree, in floodplains, lowland swamps, and sunny wet meadows. (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) “It will probably continue to increase in dominance in the overstory during the next century, causing widespread replacement of the historically dominant trees of the forests of the eastern United States” (Abrams 1998, p. 355 as cited in Natural Resources Conservation Service).

Identification Information and Garden Uses: Red maple is popular as a tree because it is easily grown, growing quickly, and is ornamental, with red fall leaf colour (sometimes yellow however, with hues of orange and vivid red). The flowers and fruit are also red.

Very tolerant of soils, however, prefers slightly acid, moist condition; tolerant of ozone and intermediately tolerant of sulphur dioxide.

This tree acts as a riparian buffer due to its tolerance of wetter soil (USDA PLANTS).

Pollinated by (Colletes) cellophane bees, who make their nests in the ground lined with a cellophane-like secretion(David Suzuki Foundation).

This tree readily hybridizes with Silver Maple. Animals like to browse from Red Maple
(Farrar).

Energy Savings: In general, deciduous trees can provide important benefits to home energy savings. Three well placed deciduous trees can reduce cooling costs by up to 40 percent. A large deciduous tree such as Red Maple can be planted 7 metres from buildings, and paved surfaces. (TRCA, Landscaping to Conserve Energy)

Traditional Edible, Medicinal Uses: Although the sap can be used for maple syrup, its sap has only about half the sugar content as sugar maple (A. saccharum), but when boiled down enough, it tastes just as good. Sap flows in late winter best on warm sunny days after frost. Aboriginal peoples used inner bark cooked, or dried and ground into powder. Flour was used as thickener in soups, and mixed with cereal for bread. Wings were removed and boiled.

Has been used as an analgesic, wash for inflamed eyes and good for hives and muscular aches. Tea from inner bark has been used for coughs and diarrhea. (Plants for a Future)

Leaves are used to pack around apples and root crops to preserve them in cold storage.

Other Uses: Brown and black dyes from bark were made by settlers. Iron sulphate added to tannin from Red Maple bark to create ink. (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

The wood is beautiful for furniture.

Compaction Tolerance

David Suzuki Foundation

USDA PLANTS Database

NatureServe

Plants for a Future

Trees in Canada
John Laird Farrar
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
1995
ISBN 1-55041-199-3

Native Trees of Canada
R.C. Hosie
Fitzhenry and Whiteside Ltd.
1979

Manual of Woody Plants
Michael A. Dirr

Trees of Ontario
Linda Kershaw
Lone Pine Publishing
2001
ISBN 1-55105-274-1

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