Red Sunset Maple

Acer rubrum "Red Sunset"




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The Red Sunset Maple is a cultivar of the Red Maple.  

Characteristics are the same as the Red Maple except:

Family:  Aceraceae

Native or Introduced to Illinois:  native

Natural Habit in Illinois:  swamps; low woods; uplands, slopes; bluff tops

Leaf:  Purple-red leaf (maroon) for most of the growing season, reddish-orange in fall.  The leaves are arranged opposite on the twigs.  They are broadly ovate with3 shallow short-pointed lobes.  The lobes sinuses are sharp, with toothed margins.

Flower:  Appear March to May, usually before leaves; Flowers maroon-yellow.

Fruit:  The fruit is a small v-shaped samara (winged seed) which is purplish in color.  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.

Other:   A fast growing tree with an upright oval growth habit. Foliage turns a brilliant red in fall.


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites: