Red Maple

Acer rubrum L. – Sapindaceae – soapberry family

Red maples are common parkage trees in Albion.  They are the second of the four common maples in our area to flower.  Typically, they produce their red flowers in mid to late March, a week or two after silver maples flower.

Silver maples and red maples are native species that apparently hybridize commonly in the wet woodlots and forests near Albion – at least a lot of intermediates occur in Brandt Woods and Bangham Road Woods.  Many of our red maple street trees look a bit like silver maples in leaf form and vice-versa.  In our study, we have made no attempt to identify and recognize hybrids.  Something that looks 51% like a red maple has been recorded as such. The red maples chosen for planting as street trees in recent years often have smooth trunks while silver maples have longitudinally plated trunks.  The leaf blade of a red maple is generally less deeply lobed than that of a silver maple, and the edges of the largest terminal lobe tend to converge inward in overall shape, while the edges of the terminal lobe of a silver maple leaf tend to converge outward in overall shape.

Ecologists have noted that, in recent years, red maples have begun to occupy many more habitats, often drier, than those in which they have occurred previously.