Acer rubrum Northern wings (Red Maple) is a deciduous tree native to eastern North America. It is a medium to large-sized tree that typically reaches heights of 15 to 25 meters (50 to 82 feet), although it can grow taller under optimal conditions. It has a rounded or oval-shaped crown with ascending branches that spread out in a pleasing manner.
The foliage of the Red Maple is one of its most distinctive features. The leaves are palmately lobed with three to five lobes, and they are medium to dark green in color during the growing season. In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a spectacular display of fall colors.
During early spring, the Red Maple produces small, inconspicuous flowers. The flowers are typically red or yellow in color and are arranged in clusters called racemes. The flowers are an important source of pollen and nectar for early-season pollinators like bees.
Following the flowers, the Red Maple produces pairs of winged samaras, also known as "helicopters" or "whirlybirds." These samaras contain seeds that are dispersed by wind, allowing the tree to colonize new areas.
The Red Maple is known for its adaptability to different soil types and moisture conditions. It can tolerate a range of soil pH levels and is often found in wetland areas, but it can also grow well in drier soils. It prefers full sun to partial shade for optimal growth.
The Red Maple is widely planted for its ornamental value. Its brilliant autumn colors make it a popular choice for landscaping, parks, and street plantings. It also provides shade and attracts wildlife, including birds and squirrels.
In addition to its ornamental use, the Red Maple has practical applications. The wood of the tree is used for furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and other woodworking projects. It is also tapped for its sap, which can be used to produce maple syrup.
Overall, the Red Maple (Acer rubrum) is a beautiful and adaptable tree known for its stunning red foliage in autumn. It is a valuable species for both its ornamental and practical uses, and its ability to thrive in a variety of conditions makes it a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers.