Maple Trees: Types, Leaves, Bark – Identification Guide (Pictures)

Beautiful shade trees with leafy foliage, maple trees are popular in the autumn. The bark of maple trees is furrowed, with tiny winged fruits and thin reddish-brown twigs. In the fall, maple trees’ green lobed leaves turn crimson, yellow, orange, and black. Maple trees’ lobed leaves are the most noticeable characteristic. The tallest maples may reach 150 feet (45 meters).

The genus Acer and the family Sapindaceae include maple trees, which are flowering trees. The horse chestnut trees and maples are closely related.

The most common species of maple trees are covered in this article. The greatest maple trees for your garden landscape can be identified using photographs and descriptions. You’ll also learn where to plant maple trees in your own backyard, which is the best place.

Maple Trees Facts

The Acer plant genus encompasses approximately 128 different species of maple trees. The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and the red maple (Acer rubrum) are the two most common maples. The Amur Maple (Acer ginnala), Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum), and Hedge Maple tree (Acer campestre) are all popular varieties of maple trees for gardens.

Sweet maple syrup, made from the sap of the tree, is the most well-known product from maple trees. Syrup can be made from any maple tree, but only sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum) produce high-quality syrup.

The quality of the wood on maple trees is also highly valued. Baseball bats, bowling pins, pool cue shafts, and hardwood flooring are all made of maple wood, which is a type of hardwood. Maple tree wood is becoming more popular as a material for making exquisite furniture due to its ornamental grain.

The most noticeable characteristic of the tree is without a doubt its beautiful maple leaf, which comes particularly from the sugar maple tree. The Canadian flag has a solitary stylised maple leaf with 11 points and significant depressions. Strength and endurance are represented by the maple leaves.

Maple Tree Leaves

Lobed maple tree leaves range in number from three to nine. Veins can be seen on the large leaves. Serrated lobes are seen on most maple tree leaves. Different maple species may be identified by looking at the number of lobes, the degree of serration on the margin, and how deeply indented the lobes are.

Sugar maple leaves have U-shaped indents between their lobes. Red Maple Leaves, on the other hand, have shallow V-shaped markings between the lobes. Red maple leaves have serrated edges and a lobed indention that is not as pronounced as sugar maples.

Maple tree leaves turn crimson, yellow, orange, and black in the autumn, becoming stunning hues of red and burgundy. The tree leaves of certain maples species might be multicolored at the same time, from brilliant yellow to reddish wine.

The colors of maple tree leaves brighten in the autumn, ranging from red to yellow to orange to black burgundy. The tree leaves of some maples species may be various colors at the same time, ranging from brilliant yellow to red wine.

Maple leaves vs. sycamore leaves

Leaves of maple and sycamore trees are similar. Maple trees have leaves with deep lobes, whereas sycamore trees have leaves with shallow lobes, as a general rule. Sycamore leaves grow alternately, but maple tree leaves grow in an opposed order.

Maple Tree Bark

As the tree grows older, maple tree bark becomes dark brown. The bark of a maple tree is divided into wide vertical strips separated by thin grooves between the plates. Maple trees with fewer furrows and fissures are known to exist. Moreover, the bark of individual maple tree species is smooth.

How to Identify Maple Trees

The leaves, bark, and fruit of maple trees are the best ways to identify them. The lobes of maple leaves are commonly pointed, with deep incisions between them. The dark green leaves have a strong scent. Maple tree bark initially has a smooth, gray appearance before fissures and furrows emerge.

Little wing-shaped leaves make up the Maple Tree Fruit. When it’s windy, the odd winged fruits, known as samaras, have a pair of seeds attached to a “wing” that flies the seed a long distance.

Maple tree leaves have three or five pointed lobes, so you can identify them by their leaves. In the autumn, maple leaves turn yellow, red, burgundy, or orange in hue. The shapes of maple leaves vary depending on the species.

The bark of a maple tree is generally gray-brown to reddish-brown, so you can identify them by their bark. On the trunk, the vertical strips or plates that flake or peel off. The flaky gray bark of silver maples is distinctive, whereas the dark brown bark of red maples is common.

Sugar Maple Trees vs. Red Maple Trees

The two most common maple species are red and sugar maple trees. Sweet maple syrup can only be made from sugar maples. Red maple sap is not as delicious as sugar maple sap. More of an decorative garden landscape tree is the red maple tree.

What distinguishes sugar maples from red maples trees?

Leaves of sugar maple trees have smooth borders, whereas those of red maple trees have serrated borders. Sugar maple leaves have U-shaped indentations, whereas red maple trees have V-shaped indentations, with a rounded base.

In the fall, sugar maple trees with dark green leaves change to red, orange, or yellow. The leaves of sugar maple trees are 5-lobed, with three big and two small lobes. Sugar maple leaves’ U-shaped area is rounded at the base and has five pointed lobes. Sugar Maple trees have 8″ (20 cm) long and broad leaves.

Light-green leaves with a silvery underside are found on red maple trees. Three or five lobes with serrated edges adorn the leaves. Like sugar maple trees, red maple leaves lack significant divots between the lobes. The bark on red maples is lighter than that of sugar maples. In the autumn, the leaves turn rich scarlet.

Varieties of Maple Trees

Here are descriptions and pictures of the most common varieties of maple trees.

Sugar Maple Tree (Acer Saccharum)

Sugar maple trees have straight trunks, rounded crowns, and spreading branches. They are large, fast-growing deciduous trees. Sugar maple trees reach heights of 40 to 80 feet (12 to 24 meters). Full sun or partial shade are ideal for this low-maintenance tree. Zones 3 – 8 are ideal for sugar maples trees.

Sugar maple leaves have five pointed lobes and a deep green color. In the autumn, the massive maple tree leaves acquire a bright yellow, orange, or crimson hue. 3″ and 6″ (7 – 15 cm) long and broad sugar maple tree leaves

Sugar Maple Bark is a gray-brown bark with long thin grooves. The bark begins to peel as the tree grows older, giving it a rough appearance.

Red Maple Tree (Acer Rubrum)

The crimson foliage of red maple trees, which turn crimson in the autumn, is lovely. In the spring, red maple trees release reddish blooms. In the autumn, the crimson maple leaves turn green, then yellow and red before finally turning crimson.

In North America, red maples thrive in full sun or partial shade. Between 40 and 70 feet (12 and 21 m) tall, fast-growing red maple trees In zones 3–9, grow red maples as landscape garden trees.

When young, red maple tree bark is thin, smooth, and grey; as it ages, it becomes furrowed.

Japanese Maple Tree (Acer Palmatum)

Some kinds of dwarf Japanese maples might resemble tiny shrubby trees, growing up to 33 feet (10 meters) tall. The Japanese maple tree, which has a dome-like canopy or crown, is frequently seen as a little multi-stemmed tree. In the autumn, Japanese maples’ leaves turn yellow, bronze, or crimson, and their foliage is spectacular.

In USDA zones 5 – 9, Japanese maple trees flourish in full sun to partial shade.

Palmately lobed leaves with five to nine serrated lobes characterize the leaves of Japanese maple trees. The fingers of a hand with outspread fingers look like the leaves of the Japanese maple tree. The leaves are up to 5 inches (12 cm) long and have a light green color.

Japanese maple trees bear palmately lobed leaves with five to nine serrated lobes on the branches. The Japanese maple tree’s leaves resemble a hand with fingers that are outstretched. The leaves might stretch up to 5 inches (12 cm) long.

When young, maple tree bark is smooth and gray, but as it ages, it develops furrows. With gorgeous pink-colored bark, the popular Sango-Kaku cultivar is a hit in winter settings.

Silver Maple Tree (Acer Saccharinum)

Quick-growing deciduous trees with a 36–49 ft. (11–15 m) spread, silver maple trees are fast-growing. Green on one side and silver on the other, silver maple five-lobed leaves Between zones 3 and 9, silver maples grow well.

Creek maple, silverleaf maple, water maple, and swamp maple are some of the other names for this tree. Silver maple tree leaves only turn yellow in the fall, unlike other types of maple.

Five lobes with serrated edges make up the leaves of a silver Maple tree. Between the lobes of the leaves, there are deep indentations. This maple tree’s popular name comes from its silvery leaf undersides.

Five lobes with serrated edges adorn the silver maple tree leaves. The lobes of the leaves have deep depressions. This maple tree’s common name comes from its silvery leaf undersides.

When young, silver maple tree bark is smooth and silvery gray, then as the tree matures, it becomes gray and shaggy.

Boxelder Maple Tree (Acer Negundo)

Manitoba maples or ash-leaved maples are two names for boxelder maple trees. The fast-growing tree may have multiple trunks and grow up to 80 feet (25 meters). Boxelder maples need full sun or partial shade to thrive in zones 2 to 9.

Boxelder maple tree leaves have three lobes that resemble poison ivy lobes, as do Maple tree leaves. In the spring and summer, the leaves are light green, but in the autumn, they turn yellow. Serrated edges distinguish the leaves.

Boxelder maple tree bark is light gray to light brown, with deep fissures that turn scaly. Maple tree bark:

Maple tree bark: Boxelder maple tree bark is pale gray to light brown with deep fissures that become scaly.

Norway Maple Tree (Acer Platanoides)

Norway maples have a wide, rounded crown and distinct maple-like leaves. They are deciduous trees. Norway maples, which originated in Europe and can grow in poor soil, thrive in zones 4 to 7. Norway maples reach heights of 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters).

Norway maple tree leaves have five lobes and grow to approximately 5 inches (12 cm) across. The lobed leaves have smooth edges, with a few teeth mixed in.

Norway maple tree bark is gray-brown and develops deep furrows as it ages.

As it ages, the bark of a Norway maple tree becomes gray-brown with deep furrows.

Paperbark Maple Tree (Acer Griseum)

The smooth, glossy, orange bark of paperbark maple trees peels off in strips. Cinnamon, orange, and reddish-brown are just a few of the Papery Bark hues available. In zones 4 – 8, paperbark maples reach heights of 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters).

Maple tree bark: Paperbark maple bark exfoliates with shards of thin, papery orange bark.

Sycamore Maple Tree (Acer pseudoplatanus)

Large deciduous trees with full sun grow in the Sycamore maple tree. The leaves on sycamore maples are big, broad leaves that form a rounded growth. These trees are not true sycamores, but rather members of the Acer genus, despite their name.

Sycamore maple tree leaves are comparable to sycamore leaves in appearance. The serrated margins of the five-lobed leaves give them a rounded appearance. Leaves are up to 10 inches (25 cm) long when fully developed.

Sycamore maple tree bark becomes rough and scaly as it ages, and maple tree bark is similar. A pinkish-brown inner bark can be seen beneath the exterior bark.

Amur Maple Tree (Acer ginnala)

Large multi-stemmed shrubs or tiny trees, amur maples are among the biggest. The Amur maple tree has a thick, rounded crown that grows to between 10 and 32 feet (3 and 10 meters). In full sun and poor soil, low-maintenance Amur maples flourish between zones 2 and 8.

Amur maple tree leaves are 2″ to 4″ (5 to 10 cm) long and have three or five lobes with serrated edges. In the autumn, the leaves turn red or yellow.

Maple tree bark: Amur maple tree bark is smooth and gray that gradually become fissured as the tree matures.

Bigleaf Maple Tree (Acer macrophyllum)

Bigleaf maples have the largest leaves of any maple species, and they are native to North America. This massive tree, up to 158 feet (48 meters) tall, is also known as the Oregon maple. A wide-rounded crown of dark green leaves grows. Zone 6 and Zone 7 are ideal growing conditions for bigleaf maples.

Bigleaf maple tree leaves have five lobes and deep indentations and may be up to 12 inches (30 cm) across. In the fall, bigleaf maple leaves become a fiery golden yellow.

Maple tree bark: Bigleaf maple tree bark is reddish-brown with deep furrowing on mature trees.

Hedge Maple Tree (Acer campestre)

Hedge maple trees are medium-sized, quick-growing trees that may reach 50 to 80 feet (15 to 25 meters) tall in Europe. This deciduous tree is one of the final ones to turn color in the autumn, and it’s also known as field maple.

Hedge maple tree leaves have three to five rounded lobes with a lustrous, dark green surface and are made up of three to five lobes. In the autumn, the leaves become golden yellow.

Maple tree bark: Hedge maple tree bark has deep fissures. The unique feature of maple tree bark is its soft texture, almost like cork.

Hornbeam Maple Tree (Acer carpinifolium)

Little trees native to Japan, hornbeam maple trees, are small. The trunks of hornbeam maples are short and rounded. Hornbeam maples lack lobed leaves, unlike other species of maples. Hornbeam maples are hardy to zones 4 – 7 and may reach a height of 20 to 30 feet (6 – 9 meters).

Hornbeam maple leaves are simple, unlobed leaves with serrated margins that may reach 6 inches (15 cm) long.

Maple tree bark: Hornbeam maple bark is dark gray to gray-brown that has a smooth feel.

Tatarian Maple Tree (Acer tataricum)

Tartarian maple trees grow to be 20 feet (6 meters) tall with a comparable spread and are little trees with thin trunks. Zones 3 to 8 are ideal for these European or Asian maples, which can grow in full sun or partial shade.

Unlobed or with three or five shallow lobes and ovately-shaped tartarian maple tree leaves. In the autumn, the leaves turn yellow or red, and they are a medium green color.

Tartarian maple tree bark is light brown in color and has a thin, smooth appearance. As the plant develops, the bark gets fissured.

Tartarian maple tree bark is thin and smooth in a pale brown color. The bark gradually becomes fissured as the plant matures.

Vine Leaf Maple Tree (Acer cissifolium)

Vine leaf maples are big shrub-like trees with thick foliage and a round canopy. The tree has spreading ivy-like leaves, as its common name implies. Zones 5 to 8 are ideal for vine leaf maples.

Three ovate leaflets with serrated edges make up vine leaf maple tree leaves. In the autumn, the medium green maple leaf turns reddish yellow.

Vine leaf maple tree bark has smooth gray bark.

Freeman Maple ‘Autumn Blaze’ Tree (Acer freemanii)

The magnificent big maple trees with robust green foliage and lovely autumn colors are stunningly grand. The ‘Autumn Blaze,’ the finest example of a Freeman maple cultivar, turns orange to crimson-red in the autumn. In zones 3 to 8, Freeman maple trees grow up to 50–60 feet (15–18 meters).

Between the lobes of Freeman maple tree leaves, there are deep indents that are a brilliant green color.

The smooth, thin, and gray bark of a Freeman maple tree develops small furrows.

Fullmoon Maple Tree (Acer shirasawanum)

A huge shrubby tree native to Japan, the fullmoon maple or Shirasawa’s maple is a big tree. The height of fullmoon maples ranges from 26 to 50 feet (8 to 15 meters). The Acer japonicum, often known as the fullmoon maple tree or Amur maple, is a close relative of this species of maple.

The leaves of fullmoon maple trees have nine to thirteen shallow lobes and are rounded in appearance. Serrated edges border the shallowly incised lobes. In the fall, the leaves change color from medium green to golden orange to dark red.

The smooth, gray appearance of fullmoon maple bark The bark of this species, unlike that of many other maple species, doesn’t fissure as the tree grows.

Leave a Comment