Carolina Nature

Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Sapindales>Aceraceae>Acer rubrum L. var. rubrum

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

One of our most common and familiar trees throughout North Carolina, found in a wide variety of habitats. In wetlands, var. trilobum is more common and var. drummondii is also possible.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

Red Maple blooms in late winter or very early spring, before leaf-out. In central North Carolina, they start blooming as early as the end of February, the first tree to bring color to the winter landscape.

The tiny staminate (male) flowers are pale yellowish-red with excerted stamens. This tree is unusually late in blooming, a couple of weeks after the peak in the area.

Chapel Hill, NC 3/11/06.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

The male flowers are sweetly fragrant.

Chapel Hill, NC 3/11/06.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

Warm winters may cause Red Maples to start blooming as early as mid-January.

Durham, NC 1/15/07.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

The pistillate (female) flowers are red.

Orange Co., NC 3/9/10.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

Orange Co., NC 3/9/10.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

Orange Co., NC 3/9/10.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

Carroll Co., VA 4/17/04.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

The samaras are usually a brilliant red when they're young, turning tan when ripe.

Carroll Co., VA 4/17/04.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) samaras

Carroll Co., VA 4/11/10.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) samaras

The samaras are sometimes greenish.

Orange Co., NC 4/12/08.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) samaras

Orange Co., NC 4/12/08.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) samaras

Orange Co., NC 4/4/09.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) fall foliage

Fall foliage is brilliant, ranging from yellow to scarlet.

Carroll Co., VA 10/26/08.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) bark

Bark on small to medium-sized trees is usually smooth.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) bark

Bark of a medium-sized tree, covered with several species of lichen.

Carroll Co., VA 3/18/06.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) bark

Bark of a medium-sized tree, beginning to crack.

Carroll Co., VA 3/18/06.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum) bark

Bark on larger trees breaks into flaky plates.

Carroll Co., VA 3/18/06.

More information:
NC State Fact Sheet
Trees of Alabama and the Southeast
Silvics Manual
Virginia Tech Dendrology

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