Types of maple trees can be identified by the shapes and sizes of their leaves, their bark and their winged seeds, which are called samaras. They can also be differentiated by the habitat where they're found, their mature height and their shape.
The Japanese maple is a small maple with a spreading habit that's prized for its deeply cut, almost feathery leaves and the brilliant red or purple color it achieves in the fall.
The sugar maple tree can be grown as a shade tree or an ornamental, but it's also the source of maple syrup. It can grow to more than 100 feet tall. The leaves turn fiery crimson, orange or yellow in the fall.
The red maple is also a large tree grown for its fall colors, but its red flowers give the tree a glow even in the spring.
The silver maple is famous because its leaves have a silvery underside. The tree's bark, which is smooth and gray, often produces suckers and shoots. The leaves are narrow and deeply cut. Some types of silver maple have a weeping habit.
The paperbark maple is grown for its interesting bark, which is reddish brown and peels attractively. Another type of maple is the snakebark maple, named for its smooth, striped bark.