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The Red Sunset Maple is a cultivar of the Red Maple.
Characteristics are the same as the Red Maple except:
- Purple-red leaf (maroon) for most of the growing season, reddish-orange in fall. Flowers maroon-yellow and fruit also purplish.
- Probably the most vigorous of red-leafed forms. Extremely similar cultivars are 'Ruby Red' and 'Goldsworth Purple'
- Originated in Belgium in 1937 from a seedling of 'Schwedleri', the leaves of which emerge reddish-purple, but then turn green. ‘Deborah’is also a seedling of 'Schwedleri', and its leaves also emerge reddish, but in contrast to ‘Crimson King’, turn to a bronzy green during the summer.
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:
- 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/