4 Red Maple
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Basic Information about this tree
  • Scientific Name: Acer Rubrum
  •  Common name: Red maple, soft maple, swamp maple
  • Deciduous 
  • Sunlight / Moisture requirements /Soil preference: Adaptable to most moist soils, well drained, compacted soil. Full to part sun.
  • Flowering type: Flowers appear mid-March. Typically Red Maples have dense clusters of either male flowers or female flowers (dioecious) on separate trees.
  • Pollination strategy: Wind
  • Native 
  • Age Estimate/ Health: 5 years 2024, healthy
  • Longevity: 80-200 years
  • Mature Size: 65 ft. – 100 ft tall by 15-75 ft wide
  • GPS Coordinates N45.00221  W92.90449W

Mature Tree in Winter/ Summer

4 Red Maple winter image
4 Red Maple summer pic

Leaves in Summer / Fall

4 Red Maple summer leaves
4 Red Maple fall leaves

Flowers - Female & Male on Separate Trees

4 Red Maple female flower
4 Red Maple male flower

Fruit Unripe / Ripe

Fruit is a pair of winged seeds (samara), 2/3 to 1 inch long that mature and shed in early summer. The wings form an angle between 45 and 90 degrees.

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4 Red Maple samara ripe

Bark of Mature Tree / root system sketch

4 Red Maple bark
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Young bark is smooth and light gray. On old trunks, the bark is thick, dark gray and separated by vertical ridges into large, plate-like, scales.

Red maple roots are primarily horizontal and form in the upper 25 cm (10 in) of soil. After germination, a taproot develops until it is about 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) long, then it turns and grows horizontally.(USDA information)

Uses in Traditional and Modern Eras

Value for wildlife:
Utility for Humans: Good shade tree, fast growing, hardy. The sap is a good source of maple syrup. Sap to finished syrup ratio 40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of syrup. The wood of the Red Maple is not particularly desirable for lumber or veneer. Red Maple is known in the lumber industry as soft maple. The wood is close grained and resembles that of the Sugar Maple but is softer in texture. It was used in furniture, flooring, veneering, instruments. The red maple was used by various native American tribes to make spoons, handles, baskets, and bowls. Leaves of the Red Maple were frequently used in the Ojibwe bead work designs. Native Americans also used the sap to make sugar before bottles were available.

Traditional uses in Native American Tree Medicine (historical), Information provided by Paul Red Elk, Lakota Medicine Man: The sap of all the maple tree is a good source of antioxidants. It’s used for inflammation, coughs, and skin conditions. New studies revealed that red maple’s leaves abound with polyphenols, compounds known for their Including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Mature bark has astringent properties. It’s often used in healing wounds.

Links & References

Red Maple is one of the ten most common trees in the USA:




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