Acer rubrum

Common Names  Red Maple, Swamp Maple, Water Maple, Soft Maple, Scarlet Maple
Family  Aceraceae
Vegetative Zone  Thicket
Plant Status
Life Span  Less than 100 years
Height  30-75 ft
Flowering Period  Mid March – Late April
Fruiting Period  Early May – June
Distribution  Eastern North America
Identifying Characteristics  Leaves, seeds, and twigs are all red


  • Leaves
    • Deciduous and oppositely arranged
    • 5-10 cm long
    • Only red during fall
  • Twigs are red
  • Red flowers with 5 small petals

Medicinal/Edible Uses

  • Bark
    • Treats sore eyes
  • Sap
    • Makes sweeteners and syrups
  • Used in treatments for
    • Diarrhea, ears/eyes, gynecology, skin

Cultural Uses

  • Used by Native Americans
    • Wood
      • Cooking tools and bowls
      • Stable gear
      • Arrowheads
    • Bark dried and sifted to make bread
    • Fibers used for basketry
  • Modern Day
    • Wood
      • Medium quality firewood
      • Provides soft maple for furniture
    • Sap used in production of Maple Syrup
    • Make colorful bonsais


  • Toxic to horses


Moerman, Daniel M. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland: Timber Press Inc., 1998. Print.

Duke, James A. and Steven Foster. Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. Print.

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