Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Acer Sp. - Maple

Family: Sapindaceae (Horse-chestnut family) (Previously in Aceraceae) [E-flora]

Local Species;

"Habit: Shrub, tree; occasionally monoecious. Inflorescence: umbel, panicle, or pendent raceme."

"Species In Genus: +- 130 species: northern hemisphere. Etymology: (Latin name for Acer campestre) Note: Many species monoecious or dioecious."
"Unabridged Note: The sexuality of Acer species is complex, with some species described as dioecious or monoecious and many species described as having both unisexual and bisexual flowers on the same tree. However, maple flowers that appear morphologically bisexual may be functionally unisexual, producing functional pollen or ovules but not both. More study of sexuality is needed in our native maples. In some Acer species, fruit may become fully developed even if no seed is set, so that production of morphologically normal fruit is no proof that a plant is reproducing." [Jepson]


1. Leaves pinnately compound; petals absent .......Acer negundo
1. Leaves simple, palmately lobed; petals usually present.
2. Flowers 10-50; inflorescence racemose or in panicles; trees up to 30 m tall.
3. Leaves grey, white or purplish below, the stalks without milky juice when cut; inflorescence in long, hanging panicles; fruits glabrous ..........Acer pseudoplatanus
3. Leaves green below, the stalks with milky juice when cut; inflorescence racemose or in stiff, more or less erect panicles; fruits glabrous or hairy.
4. Leaves lobed beyond the middle, the tips abruptly sharp-pointed; inflorescence racemose; fruits hairy .......Acer macrophyllum
4. Leaves not lobed beyond the middle, the tips bristlelike; inflorescence in stiff, more or less erect panicles; fruits glabrous ........Acer platanoides
2. Flowers usually less than 10; inflorescence umbellate or corymbose; plants usually shrublike and less than 10 m tall.
5. Leaves 3- to 5-lobed, glabrous to sparsely glandular short-hairy; sepals green........Acer glabrum
5. Leaves 7- to 9-lobed, soft-hairy beneath and often hairy above; sepals red .......Acer circinatum [E-flora]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Other Information

A. circinatum; A shade-tolerant to shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Pacific North American deciduous shrub (rare on Vancouver Island). Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Plentiful and persistent in open-canopy forests and clearings on water-receiving (alluvial. seepage, and stream-edge) sites; dominant in primary successional stages on water-shedding sites with fragmental colluvial soils. Regenerates vigorously from stump sprouts; it hinders natural regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Frequently grows with Polystichum munitum. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms. [IPBC][E-flora]

Species Interactions

Mushroom Substrate: Acer Species, including A. macrophyllum, are "...suitable tree species for the cultivation of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms." [GGMM Stamets]

Acer Sp. - Maple


Page last modified on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 9:22 AM