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Acer spicatum (Mountain maple) | NPIN
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Acer spicatum (Mountain maple)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Acer spicatum

Acer spicatum Lam.

Mountain maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: acsp2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

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 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 , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
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

Propagation

Description: 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: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 1258 - Trees of Ontario (2007) Kershaw, Linda

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Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Acer spicatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acer spicatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acer spicatum

Metadata

Record Modified: 2010-05-02
Research By: TWC Staff

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