Red Maple

Acer rubrum

Leaves are opposite simple.

twig, fruit, and leafThe red maple grows well on a wide range of soil types. It is fast growing and grows to a to 70 feet tall.

The leaves are arranged opposite on the twigs. The are broadly ovate with 3 shallow short-pointed lobes turning red, orange, and yellow in the autumn. The lobes sinuses are sharp, with toothed margins.

leavesThe fruit is a v-shaped samara (winged seed). The twigs are shiny red with numerous small lenticels.


  • Three (sometimes five) main lobes
  • Leaf margins are slightly serrated
  • Notches between lobes are shallow
  • Palmately veined
  • Base of lobes are pointed
  • Fall colors range from gold to deep purple and scarlet

leaf next to rulerBranching: opposite


  • Twigs and buds are reddish in color.
  • Younger trees are smooth and light gray.
  • Older trees have long, narrow, scaly plates with shallow fissures.
Height: medium sized tree 50 to 70 ft.

Trunk Diameter: 12 to 24 in.

Longevity: maturity reached at 70 to 80 yrs. (may attain an age of 150 yrs.)

red leaf Tolerance: intermediate

Range: eastern U.S.

Fun Facts:

  • Wood sometimes used for furniture.
  • Named for the bright red flowers that appear in the spring.


Identify Another Tree

This key was developed by "bt" in June 1982. It was put into HTML format by Stephen Ostermiller in July 1997. Copies of the entire guide in zip format that may be taken to camp on a laptop are available to those who write.