Common name: Red maple
Botanical name: Acer rubrum
Virtues: Adaptable to varied growing conditions, vibrant fall foliage, late winter/early spring flowers. Fast grower.
Foliage: Leaves have the classic maple leaf shape, with three or five lobes. Green in summer, turning brilliant red in fall. Usually one of the first trees to change color in fall.
Flowers: Clusters of small red or orange flowers appear in late winter or early spring, before the leaves. Followed by clusters of drooping orange samaras (winged seed pods).
Habit: Deciduous tree 40 to 70 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide. Young trees have a triangular or oval outline; old trees are more rounded.
Origin: Stream banks and woodlands of the eastern half of North America.
Cultivation: Prefers moist acidic soil. Tolerates wet soil and occasional flooding. Prefers full sun but tolerates shade. USDA Zones 3–9.
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Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder