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Acer glabrum

Acer glabrum Torr.

Rocky Mountain Maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)


USDA Symbol: acgl

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (I?), CAN (N)

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: Lobed , Serrate
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall, with slender spreading branches.
Leaf: Green above with lighter veins, slightly paler below.

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 , NM , NV , 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


Description: Can be propagated from seeds sown soon after harvest.
Seed Collection: As soon as samaras turn yellowish or reddish brown and the seeds inside are firm, filled out, and dark brown. Best to gather from the tree as seeds that have already dropped lose viability quickly and are easily infested. Seed is usually not extracted from the samara. Keep in cold, moist storage.
Seed Treatment: Best results from seeds are obtained by alternating warm & cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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 on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-31
Research By: TWC Staff

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