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

 Native Plant Database

Acer spicatum


Mountain maple


Aceraceae (Maple Family)



Acer spicatum (Mountain maple)
Smith, R.W.
Mountain maple is a small, understory tree, 20-35 ft. tall, with multiple trunks and a mushroom-shaped habit. Its bark is maroon-purple to reddish-brown and its dark, yellowish-green foliage consistently turns mottled-orange to bright-red in the fall.

Mountain Maple is hardy and adapted to partial shade. The Latin species name, meaning spiked, refers to the long spikelike flower clusters. Rabbits, beavers, deer, and moose browse the bark, and ruffed grouse eat the buds. Some tribes boiled the young twigs with a pinch of alum and used the solution to soothe eyes irritated by smoke. (Kershaw)

Mountain maple is very important for preventing erosion on streambanks and steep slopes. When spreading branches become buried in leaf litter, they put down roots and send up new shoots. This process can produce impenetrable thickets on recently cleared land. (Kershaw)

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Red, Brown
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: AL , CT , GA , IA , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Nf. to e. Sask., s. to NJ, uplands to GA & TN, MI & n.e. IA
Native Habitat: Cool, moist, wooded hillsides & flats

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, cool, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Mountain maple is disease and insect resistant but needs protection from wind and sun. It adapts to most soils.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Very high.
Use Medicinal: Some tribes boiled the young twigs with a pinch of alum and used the solution to soothe eyes irritated by smoke. (Kershaw)
Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2014-10-17