This tree located throughout all of Ohio (including in my backyard) and is found naturally in moist areas of open woodlands, especially along creeks and bottomlands where the soil is usually moist to wet. It is also a major component of the native habitat throughout its region. In urban areas it is a popular shade tree, noted for its brilliant red fall color.
This species and the Silver Maple often are referred to as the “soft maples.” The wood is soft, not very strong and not durable. It is used for veneer and a variety of small products such as boxes and clothespins. It typically grows 40-60’ tall with a rounded to oval crown.
Clusters of small red flowers bloom in March and April. Reddish, winged fruit called samaras or “keys” become brown and mature in May and June.
Red maple is one of the most abundant species in temperate forests of eastern North America and has a wide north to south distribution. Because of this wide natural range, it is extremely variable in form. The leaves of southern forms tend to have only three lobes compared to five lobes on northern forms.
This tree takes its common name from its reddish buds that swell in Spring, its red leaf petioles in Summer, and its brilliant red foliage in Fall. Red maple is one of the most recognized trees with some part of the plant red all season long.