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Native or Introduced to Illinois: native
Natural Habit in Illinois: swamps; low woods; uplands, slopes; bluff tops
Leaf: The leaves are arranged opposite on the twigs. They are broadly ovate with3 shallow short-pointed lobes turning red, orange, and yellow in the autumn. The lobes sinuses are sharp, with toothed margins.
Flower: Appear March to May, usually before leaves; usually bright red but occasionally yellow.
Fruit: The fruit is a v-shaped samara (winged seed). Red maple has the smallest winged seeds (samaras) of all native maples, about 5/8-3/4 inches long. Also, the samaras ripen in the spring- a trait shared only with silver maple which has much larger samaras.
Twig: The twigs are shiny red with numerous small lenticels.
Bark: On young trees, smooth and light gray, with age becomes darker and breaks up into long scaly plates.
Size/Form/Shape: This maple is a medium sized tree with fairly rapid growth (2-5 ft/yr), but not as fast as the much larger growing silver maple.
Erosion control: Red maple is available in quantity for revegetation work and landscaping. It is a valuable riparian buffer plant due mostly to itís tolerance of wetter soils.
Wildlife: Red maple seeds provide food for squirrels and some birds. The species is not preferred by deer as a browse source, so in heavy deer pressure this species is over abundant in forest regeneration.
Wood: The wood is not desirable for lumber or veneer.
County Distribution Map for Illinois:
Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:
- Illinois Plant Information Network (ILPIN) @ http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/delaware/ilpin/ilpin.html#Background
- List of Woody Plants Native or Naturalized in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/woody.html
- Tree Species @ http://ostermiller.org/tree/species.html
- Index to Eastern/Central Trees @ http://www.arborday.org/trees/ECtreelist.html
- ISU Forestry Extension Identification of Common Trees of Iowa @ http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pages/tree/
- Key to Leaves of Virginia Trees @ http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/forsite/key/intro.htm
- List of Native Trees for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/treetable.html
- The PLANTS Database @ http://plants.usda.gov/
The information below is from the National Arbor Day Foundation. This information can be viewed in the original (source) form by visiting The National Arbor Day Foundation at http://www.arborday.org.
Sun Exposure: This maple does well in partial shade to full sun.
Soil Type: The Red Maple grows in acidic, loamy, clay, sandy, wet, well-drained soils, and is sensitive to salt.
Moisture: Prefers wet soil conditions. Slight drought tolerance.
Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium to fast growth rate.
Hardiness Zones: 3 - 9
This maple can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map.