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Acer rubrum var. trilobum (Trident maple)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Acer rubrum var. trilobum

Acer rubrum L. var. trilobum Torr. & A. Gray ex K. Koch

Trident Maple, Trident Red Maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Synonym(s): Acer carolinianum, Acer rubrum var. tridens, Rufacer carolinianum


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

Acer rubrum var. trilobum shares the general characteristics of its species but always has hairy-on-the-underside 3-lobed leaves, the lower 2 lobes of which are somewhat compressed. Its leaves are also more likely to turn yellow in the fall than those of varieties rubrum and drummondii, though red is still common. It prefers drier sites than variety drummondii.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Palmate
Leaf Pubescence: Hirsute
Leaf Margin: Serrate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: Up to about 70 feet tall.
Leaf: Green, turning red or yellow in fall. This variety is more likely to have yellow autumn foliage than the other Acer rubrum varieties.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Notes: Male blooms are showiest


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV
Canada: NB , NS
Native Distribution: Eastern Canada south to Florida, west to east Texas and Oklahoma
Native Habitat: Woodland. Often found in drier sites than other Acer rubrum varieties.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes


Use Ornamental: Valued for its brilliant fall color, red male flowers in spring, and red samaras in spring on female trees
Use Wildlife: Attracts a variety of birds and mammals to its fruits and leaves. Home to a bevy of insects, including several sphinx moth species.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds
Larval Host: For several sphinx moth species.
Deer Resistant: No

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0275 Collected June 1, 1993 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 1255 - Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants (2009) Tallamy, Douglas W.
Bibref 481 - How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Revised and Updated Edition (2001) Nokes, J.
Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Acer rubrum var. trilobum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acer rubrum var. trilobum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acer rubrum var. trilobum


Record Modified: 2009-11-26
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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