The Crimson King maple tree, one of several Norway maple clones, is a medium-sized deciduous tree that grows between 40 to 50 feet. The tree is characterized by a thick symmetrical crown and dense foliage that provides ample shade, and people often plant it in yards and parks. The tree is well known to nature lovers who enjoy the tree’s maroon-colored leaves throughout the spring and summer and the yellow-to-bronze leaves that emerge in the autumn.
Crimson King maples are native to Europe and parts of Asia, and they first grew from seed in Belgium in 1937. The tree arrived in the United States a decade later, and because it was patented early, nurseries heavily promoted it. Despite its popularity, the tree’s shallow root system causes nutrient and moisture loss to other nearby plants, causing it and other Norway maples to be classified as invasive species.
The Crimson King maple has a leaf with five sharp points that resembles other varieties of maples. Norway maples are often mistaken for sugar maples, but Norway species produce an inedible white sap rather than maple syrup sap. This distinctive white sap becomes visible and beads on the stem if the leaf detaches from the stem. A leaf with a thicker texture also distinguishes a Norway maple from a sugar maple.