Home & Garden Trees & Houseplants

Guide to Maple Tree Identification

    Leaf Form

    • Maple tree leaves come off the branches before winter, grow opposite each other on the twigs and, with the exception of boxelder, are simple, single-bladed leaves. The vast majority of maple species feature palmate leaves, with the lobes of the leaf resembling outstretched fingers on a hand.

    Leaf Color

    • A great appeal of maples is their fall foliage color, a characteristic that helps identify these trees. Maple leaves, such as those of the red maple (Acer rubrum), often change to brilliant colors such as orange, red, yellow or burgundy in autumn.

    Flowers and Seeds

    • The flowers of maples develop in branched clusters, according to the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees; Eastern Region." These flowers are small and give way to seeds known as samaras. Looking in many cases like keys, samaras typically emerge in pairs, attached to each other so that they appear almost as a tiny set of wings.

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