Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Acer glabrum

Rocky Mountain maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Acer glabrum (Rocky mountain maple)
Rocky Mountain maple is a multi-stemmed, 10-30 ft. tree or shrub with a 10-15 ft. spread. Though inconspicuous, the early spring flowers of this maple are quite fragrant. Its shiny, green, deciduous leaves turn yellow to reddish-orange in fall. Smooth, gray bark; red twigs; and reddish, winged seeds provide winter interest. The northernmost maple in the New World, it extends through southeastern Alaska. The Latin species name, meaning hairless, refers to the leaves.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Margin: Serrate , Lobed
Size Notes: A small tree with slender, spreading branches.
Leaf: Green above with lighter veins, slightly paler below.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Usually monoecious, in small clusters.


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NE , NV , NM , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB
Native Distribution: Mts. of western U.S.
Native Habitat: Wooded hills; ravines along streams; above 4500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Though not as handsome as vine maple, this species is more cold hardy. Rocky Mountain maple does not tolerate heat and its leaves may scorch if grown in open, hot, dry and windy sites.


Use Wildlife: Deer, elk, cattle, and sheep browse the foliage.
Interesting Foliage: yes

Last Update: 2007-01-01