Acer rubrum L. - Red Maple

Acer rubrum plant

Family - Aceraceae

Stems - No info. yet.

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate, palmately lobed, very variable in shape and pubescence, light green-blue abaxially, dull green adaxially, to +10cm long and broad. Petioles typically with some red, glabrous to pubescent, to +10cm long.

Acer rubrum leaves

Inflorescence - Staminate and pistillate flowers appearing on different plants (dioecious).

Acer rubrum staminate inflorescenceStaminate inflorescence.

Acer rubrum pistillate inflorescencePistillate inflorescence.

Flowers - No info. yet.

Acer rubrum staminate flowersStaminate flowers.

Acer rubrum pistillate flowersPistillate flower.

Flowering - March - April.

Habitat - Dry to wet woods, thickets, disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This tree can be found in the southeastern half of Missouri. The plant is easily to recognize because of its three lobed leaves and red flowers (in the spring). Having said that, this is a very variable plant in leaf shape and pubescence. Steyermark separated the plant into many varieties and forms based on these characters and habitat. I certainly will not go into those here. The general leaf shape is shown above in the picture. The leaves can have lobes of different lengths and variously toothed margins. All the leaves will, however, have V-shaped sinuses between the lobes.
The wood from this species is not as commonly used in furniture making as that of other maples but is still used for flooring, veneer, and, of all things, clothes pins.
Natives used the bark of the tree for ailments such as coughs and diarrhea, as well as a blood purifier. The sap from this tree will yield syrup, but it is not as good as that of the Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum Marsh.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 3-13-03, and in Vale, NC., 3-15-03.


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