13 Beautiful Species of Maple Trees

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Many people choose to plant maples because they work well as shade, stray trees, and specimens. Maple trees are known for their fall colors; many species display oranges, browns, yellows, and reds each year. Some trees can have leaves with many of these colors at the same time. Another desirable feature is the ability of many edges to tolerate drought.

Maples include a considerable number of species of the genus Acer within the plant family Aceraceae. Most species of maples are deciduous woody plants, ranging from shrubs with several stems to large upright trees with huge trunks.


Most maples are shallow-rooted trees that can push up sidewalks and other paving surfaces if planted too closely. Many varieties also develop thick, exposed roots that make lawn mowing difficult; These types are best planted in a forest setting or where the surrounding soil can be covered with mulch or a live ground cover other than grass. Most maples also seek moisture, and their roots can get into water or sewer pipes if planted on top of them. Always check the behavior of the maple species you are considering before planting it.


    Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)

    The Amur maple is one of the smallest trees in the Acer genus, growing as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree with a dense, rounded crown. Acer ginnala is sometimes classified as a subspecies of the tartar maple, named Acer tataricum subsp.

    It is also sometimes called the common name Siberian maple. The color of the autumn leaves is red, even with yellow tones. The "Embers" and "Flame" varieties have particularly bright autumn colors in the leaves and fruits. Once established, the Amur maple will have some resistance to drought.

    • Native Area: Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Siberia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Height: 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

    As the name suggests, the leaves of this tree are quite large. It has the largest leaves of all the maples; the classic five-lobed webbed leaves can be over 12 inches wide.

    Other common names for this tree include broadleaf maple and Oregon maple. The broadleaf maple is a massive, thick-bodied tree with gray or reddish-brown furrowed bark.

    Spring foliage is burgundy in color, turning green in summer, then yellow or orange-yellow in fall. This large tree is an excellent shade tree for large gardens and parks.

    • Native Area: Western North America, from Alaska down to southern California.
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Height: 20 to 100 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade

    Hedge Maple (Acer campestre)

    The hedge is an excellent choice for the urban garden, as it works well in many harsh environments: dry; acidic, alkaline or salty soils; dark places; and climates where there is a shortage of ozone. It can also be used as a tree on the street if the power lines are high enough.

    Also known as field maple or common maple, the hedge maple is a small to medium-sized tree that can serve as a shade tree in small landscapes or can be pruned to serve as a cover plant in larger landscapes. Medium green foliage gives way to yellow colors in the fall.

    • Native Area: Europe and southwestern Asia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Height: 25 to 35 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Hornbeam Maple (Acer carpinifolium)

    Many species of plants within a genus look similar, but there can be surprises, such as the edge of the carp. Its leaves don't look like what you would expect from a maple. Instead, as the scientific and common names indicate, the foliage looks more like that of the carp tree (Carpinus spp.).

    Instead of the webbed lobes found in classic maple, this species has elongated lobed leaves with pointed tips and wavy texture. Green leaves turn brownish-yellow or golden in fall. It may be a somewhat difficult plant to find for sale, but it can make a good small tree or a large shrub in the landscape.

    • Native Area: Japan
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
    • Height: 15 to 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

    Japanese maple is a staple in many Japanese gardens, as well as in the bonsai world. The leaves are green or red and have a wide variety of shapes and textures; there are thousands of cultivars.

    The leaves tend to have more lobes than other edges and a finer texture. Autumn colors vary greatly depending on the variety; Yellow, red-violet, and bronze colors are available.

    Japanese maple can be a focal point in many different types of garden designs. The dwarf varieties are often used as ornamental shrubs, while the larger cultivars are planted as small tree specimens.

    This plant is sensitive to heat and cold. Even in zone 5, a period of severe cold in winter can cause severe death and in the southern part of the mountain range, benefit from some shade to avoid leaf burns.

    • Native Area: China, Korea, Japan
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Height: Varies; usually 15 to 25 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade, may survive full shade

    Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)

    Known as Norwegian or European maple, these popular species were brought from Europe to North America in the 18th century. Since then, it has become one of the most popular trees.

    This medium-sized shade tree has an attractive, dense crown that is symmetrically round but is a shallow-rooted tree. In the right environments, this species can become invasive, so check before planting to make sure it's not a problem in your region. (Many states and counties have declared it legally invasive, so it's best to avoid it altogether.)

    Crimson King is one of the most popular varieties; It has reddish-brown leaves that are very attractive during the growing season, but the fall color is negligible and turns grayish. Other varieties generally exhibit yellow hues in the fall.

    • Native Area: Europe and western Asia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Height: usually 40 to 50 feet; sometimes as much as 90 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)

    The edge of the paperbark is often chosen for a landscape for its tan or reddish-brown bark that sheds from the trunk, even when the tree is young.

    This is a small, rounded tree with narrow vertical branches. Clover leaves are medium green on the upper surfaces, with the lower surfaces grayish-green. The foliage takes on dramatic shades of orange or red in the fall.

    The edge of the paperbark is an excellent specimen of a tree for small landscapes, especially when planted near a terrace or patio where it can be enjoyed. The interesting bark offers a lot of interest in winter.

    • Native Area: Central China
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 15 to 30 feet tall and wide
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

    The red maple lives up to its name in many places throughout the year. The red sprouts of spring transform into a structure of red seeds (samaras) that hang from reddish branches.

    Reds return to the tree with the fall color change. This medium-sized maple is a common landscape tree in North America, a classic shade tree with a rounded or oval crown.

    Trilobed (or sometimes five-lobed) green leaves usually turn red in the fall, although the specific hues can be unpredictable. Fall color also varies by variety, from greenish-yellow to red to wine.

    Regionally, this tree has many different common names: Red Maple, Soft Maple, Drummond Red Maple, Carolina Red Maple, Swamp Maple, Trident Red Maple, and Water Maple.

    • Native Area: Eastern U.S. and Canada
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Height: 30 to 100 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

    The underside of the leaves of this maple is silver and glisten attractively in the wind. Silver maple is one of the trees most likely to see in the United States, as it becomes very natural and grows very quickly.

    In an abandoned backyard, seedlings can appear quickly and outweigh the landscape. As with many widespread species, this tree has several common regional names, such as soft maple, river maple, river maple, white maple, and water maple.

    In autumn, this tree takes on attractive shades of yellow, orange, or red. This is another shallow-rooted tree that should be kept away from areas with pipes or pavement.

    • Native Area: Eastern U.S. and Canada
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Height: 50 to 100 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

    This maple is the first choice for those looking to make maple syrup, as the sap contains a higher percentage of plant sugars than any other species of maple.

    Although it can provide a good and large shade tree under the right circumstances, it is not a tree that is very tolerant of urban conditions. It does not respond well to compacted soils, road salts, or pollution. However, it tolerates shade better than most large deciduous trees.

    The sugar maple is a large tree with a densely rounded crown. The leaves are medium green in color with three or five lobes; the foliage turns yellow-orange in the fall. Regionally, this species can be known as rock edge or hard edge.

    • Native Area: Northeastern and southern U.S., northeastern Canada
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Height: 50 to 80 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade

    Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)

    The species and common names for this maple come from the fact that the leaves are similar to those of the sycamore (Platanus). This tree does well with urban conditions like salt and pollution. In some areas, this tree is known as the planetary edge.

    The sycamore edge is one of the most massive edges, with a dense rounded crown. The dark green leaves are quite large, with five lobes, but there is no autumn color worth mentioning - the foliage remains green or can turn yellowish-brown.

    It is not a popular landscape tree because it does not have the color of autumn, but the sycamore maple can be a good shade tree and has good tolerance for salty conditions.

    • Native Area: Europe and western Asia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
    • Height: 40 to 60 feet; sometimes as much as 100 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun to light shade

    Tatarian Maple (Acer tataricum)

    This species is closely related to the Amur maple. It is usually grown as a small vertical tree, but it can also be grown as a shrub if it is not pruned.

    Its leaves usually have three lobes when the tree is young, but the leaves of mature trees are not lobed. The greenish-white flowers in the spring give way to red samara and the autumn foliage is yellow or red.

    • Native Area: Central/southeastern Europe and Asia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Height: 15 to 20 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Vine Leaf Maple (Acer cissifolium)

    The leaf edge of the vine has leaves with three parts, a structure known as trifoliata. The leaves are less like the classic maple, more reminiscent of ivy or ash (another common name for this plant is maple with ivy leaves).

    In shape and size, this small tree looks like the Japanese maple and can be used in the same way as a sample tree. Fall foliage is variable, ranging from common green to shades of yellow and red.

    • Native Area: Japan
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Height: 20 to 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Semi-shade

    Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How To Identify Maple Tree Varieties

    Source: LoveToKnow.com

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