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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Acer spicatum Lam.
USDA Symbol: ACSP2
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)
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Red, Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, WV Canada: NB
, 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 ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse 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)
Propagation is possible by seed. Seed Collection:
The winged fruit
of maples is called a samara. Seed is usually not extracted from the samara. Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Johnstown, PAMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2010-05-02
Research By: TWC Staff