What Are Some Interesting Facts About the Red Maple Tree?

interesting-red-maple-tree Credit: kanegen/CC-BY-2.0

Acer rubrum, known as the red maple, is a deciduous tree native to Eastern North America that loses its leaves in the fall and creates colorful red foliage. Other interesting details about the red maple include that it grows to heights of 40 to 60 feet tall, has silvery bark and a rounded, pyramidal shape with ascending branches.

The species name rubrum means that red is everywhere in the tree's color. Before the leaves appear, the tree produces flowers, fruit, stems, twigs and buds—all red-tinged in color. The leaves are typically 2 to 5 inches long and have three triangular lobes with pointed tips. In northern states, red maples are seen in wet areas and river flood plains. In the South, they grow in drier soil. Two varieties of red maples, the "October Glory" and "Red Sunset" produce particularly brilliant fall colors.

The red maple is tolerant of flooding and should be planted in full sunlight. Adequate water is necessary or the tree will defoliate and die back. The red maple, a popular shade tree in southern states, is often chosen for landscaping and lining streets because the tree's surface roots are not problematic to paved streets or grassy lawns.