Maple Trees: Types, Leaves, Bark – Identification Guide (Pictures) 

Let us have a ride of the beauty of this nature and environment. Maple Trees are the perfect partner for you if you love to have your garden or landscape. But before proceeding, do you have any idea how Maple trees look like and what should be the identification pointers you need to take care of while getting one? 

This will not be a question anymore for you. Just read this article till the end, and all your doubts will fly away right here. These few minutes read will help you to recognize maple trees and their complete inside-out points to have a look at to choose your favorite one as per the interest. Let us begin!

Introduction to Maple Trees

Maple Trees

Maple trees are beautiful Deciduous Trees. That means they can change the color of their leaves and drop their leaves in the fall. They are so beautiful that every nature-loving and gardening person will be attracted to them like a magnet.

Maple Trees have narrow twigs with small and dark brown furrowed bark. They are rich in Foliage, and they have winged fruits as well. Maple Trees have leaves with beautiful shapes, and they change their color from green to red, Yellow, Orange, and eventually to Dark Burgundy during the fall as per the seasons come across.

Maple Trees have green leaves that are specifically lobed, and that may be round too. The best feature about the Maple Trees is that they can grow upto 150 ft, so they are indeed in the category of Giant Species of Deciduous Trees.

Every tree gives us something in return as per the image in our mind. Maple Trees are also in the same category as they will give you beautiful flowers in return. These are Flowering Trees belonging to the Genus Acer and the family of Sapindaceae (Botanical Name). Maple Trees are close neighbors and relatives of Horse Chestnut Trees.

Here in this article, you will get complete knowledge and get to know the Maple Trees facts and pictures to make it easy for you to identify the best-suited Maple Tree for your landscape and garden. Have a quick look at different species of a Maple tree, choose your favorite and rock.

Essential facts about Maple Trees

Maple Trees have about 120+ Species all over the world in Acer Plant Genus. Amongst these, the most common species are Sugar Maple with the Botanical name of Acer Saccharum, and the other species are Red Maple with the Botanical Name of Acer Rubrum. Other categories are Big Leaf Maples, Hedge Maple, and Amur Maple.

Botanical Names Of Different Categories Are Like These

  1. Big Leaf Maple: Acer Macrophyllum
  2. Amur Maple Tree: Acer Ginnala
  3. Hedge Maple Tree: Acer Campestre 

The Maple trees are very much known for the high-quality Wood for the furniture and best quality Timber. There are many things where Maple Wood can be used, like in making Pool Cue Shaft, Basketball Bats and Hardwood Flooring. Moreover, the Wood obtained from the Maple tree is also used for making high-quality, beautiful furniture.

Maple Trees is famous for Wood or timber, but they are trendy for one more thing. That is Sweet Maple Syrup obtained from Tree Sap. You can obtain sweet syrup from any Maple tree category, but the quality syrup is obtained from Sugar Maple tree only with the botanical name of Acer Saccharum. This category provides the best quality sweet syrup.

Maple tree leaf is lovely, and that is undoubtedly the fact that the Canadian Government has chosen this for their National Flag. This is since the Maple Leaf symbolizes Strength and Endurance.

The bark of Maple Tree 

The bark of Maple Tree

Maple Tree’s bark has a beautiful dark brown color when they mature, so they change their color from light to dark brown as the years pass. These trees have stripes on their trunk from upside down or vice versa. The bark has fissures and a highly wrinkled surface, as the picture suggests. Moreover, the Maple Tree has many species, so many Maple species have smoother bark than the others.

Leaves of Maple Trees 

Leaves of Maple Trees

The Maple tree leaves are lobed with a beautiful shape and can have between three to nine lobes as per the picture. The lobes may be serrated, and this is the crucial point to identify the maple tree species as the serration may resonate with some species.

So, you should know the serration part to identify the Maple Tree species among 120+ available worldwide. There is no need to worry about this as you will get complete information here in this article about every aspect.

Maple Tree leaves change their color as per the season’s pass. They change their color from Green to Yellow to Orange and dark burgundy during the fall, so a broad and exciting thing is worth seeing in the species of these beautiful trees that will add to the beauty of your landscape or garden where you are planning to have one.

Lobes may have different numbers in different species, like Sugar Maple Tree has five serrated lobes, whereas Silver Maple Trees may have deeper indentations than the Sugar Maple Tree. One more aspect here to keep in mind while distinguishing between Sugar Maple Tree and Silver Maple Tree. Similarly, many aspects and pointers we will discuss here to recognize which Maple tree you are looking on. Moreover, suppose that is a Maple Tree or not. In that case, many Trees have the same looks, and according to species, they may have some similarities and minor things that are different from recognizing them and bifurcating from each other. This thing can be majorly seen in the same Trees with different species.

But that will not be a question and matter of confusion anymore. Here, we have a complete list of species. We will try to cover all the significant Maple Tree species to make you able to identify them as per their major or minor behavioral or critical pointers.

Identification of Maple Tree

The central question that arises here is how you would know if the tree is a Maple Tree or not? Also, what should be the identification marks you should look for while checking for this? This question is critical for every gardening lover who decides to have a Maple Tree in the landscape or garden. But here, it is not a big deal to identify as you will come across all the necessary details and the identification marks to look at while getting your Maple Tree.

Maple Trees have the best identification mark as leaves, bark, and fruit that they produce. Maple Trees have lobed leaves with pointed edges, and their bark has deep fissures and wrinkled structures. The leaves are green in color, and then they change to darken as the ages passed. Their bark looks smooth when young, and as time passes, they change to furrowed and wrinkled.

Maple Trees have wing-shaped Fruits, and they are called Samaras. They contain a pair of seeds attached to wings. They carry their seeds to different locations and at a very long distance with winds’ help. So, they carry their seeds to longer distances when it is windy.

Identification of Maple Tree by their Bark

Maple Trees have bark with mostly two colors, and they are Dark Brown to Dark Reddish Brown.Their bark has a structure with fissures, and they have vertical scales on their trunk. The wrinkled structure and the cracks on their bark come with ages. Silver Maple Trees have flaky gray bark. On the same platform, Red Maple Trees have dark brown bark with flaky nature too.

Identification of Maple Tree by their Leaves

Maple tree leaves have a lobed structure. These lobes may vary between three to five as per the species as we have many species available worldwide. The leaves change their color as per the season’s change due to these trees’ deciduous nature.

They have Green color at the beginning that changes from Yellow to Orange and eventually Dark Burgundy, and this happens based on different species available for Maple Trees. So, this point is worth noticeable about these beautiful Trees as a primary Identification Marker.

Distinguishing points between Sugar Maple Tree and Red Maple Tree

Red Maple Trees and Sugar Maple Trees can be used for sweet syrup, but which one is superior in that case is a question and self-explanatory, as the name suggests. Yes, the Sugar Maple tree produces the best quality sweet syrup that can be used widely for many purposes; however, syrup obtained from Red Maple Tree is not as sweeter as one obtained from Sweet Maple Tree.

Then what is the advantage of Red Maple Tree? This question is most likely to be asked. The best answer for this is beauty, as Red Maple Trees serve the purpose of the beauty of your landscape and garden. They provide the best scenic beauty during sunset and much soothing for you in their landscape or gardens.

Let us have a look at more details about the two major categories of the Maple Trees. Sugar Maple Trees and Red Maple Trees:

Red Maple Trees 

Red Maple Trees

Red Maple Tree has leaves with light green color, and that changes with time. Their leaves have a silvery color underside. The leaves have serrated lobes and point at the edges. Their leaves do not have deep indentations like the Sugar Maple Trees. Their leaves change their color to red during the fall. Red Maple Trees have pale gray bark that is somewhat thinner than the sugar Maple Trees.

Sugar Maple Trees 

Sugar Maple Trees

The Sugar Maple Tree has a total of five lobes that are classified as three small lobes and two large lobes. Their leaves are dark green, and they change their color as the season’s pass. They are green, then change to red to Orange to Yellow in the fall. The leaves of Sugar Maple Tree are up to 19-20 cms long, so they have large leaves. Moreover, the space between the leaves’ lobes is in a “U” shape with a rounded base.

Different Varieties of Maple Trees

There is a wide variety of Maple Trees available so let us begin and find some facts and points about them one by one. Here we go!

Freeman Maple Tree

Freeman Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of Freeman Maple Tree is Acer freemanii.

The Freeman Maple Trees grow between 30-50 feet and with beautiful green leaves that change their color from Orange to Crimson Red in fall. They have dense Foliage and add to the beauty of your landscape or garden.

The second name for this category is Autumn Blaze.

Freeman Maple Trees have green leaves in color, and they have deep indentations between the Lobes.

The Bark is gray with smooth finishing. The bark is thin compared to other categories, and it becomes somewhat furrowed with time.

Japanese Maple Tree

Japanese Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of the Japanese Maple Tree is Acer Palmatum. 

Japanese Maple Trees have growth between 30-33 ft. They have a dome-like shape on their head when they grow, and their leaves can change color from Yellow to Bronze to Deep Red Color. In some regions, they also grow like small Shrubs as well.

The leaves of the Japanese Maple Tree are majorly 5″ long, and they have a shape with 5-9 lobes that seem like stretched fingers of a hand. Their leaves are green in color in the beginning.

The bark of the Japanese Maple Tree is gray and smooth in the beginning and then becomes furrowed as time passes. Moreover, there are some species with pink bark as well.

Silver Maple Tree

Silver Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of Silver Maple Tree is Acer Saccharinum.

Silver Maple Trees are very fast-growing Deciduous trees, and they have leaves with one side green and the other side as Silver. This is the reason they are called Silver Maple Trees. Moreover, they are also known as Siver Leaf Trees as per the leaves’ silver color on one side. They grow between 52-85 ft with a general structure of 35-50 ft.

The leaves of Silver Maple Tree are

Tooth shaped at the ends and with five lobes. There are deep indentations between the Lobes of the leaves in these trees.

The bark of Silver Maple Tree is smooth and silvery Gray when it is young, and with the passage of time, it becomes gray and fuzzy.

Boxelder Maple Tree

Boxelder Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of Boxelder Maple Tree is Acer Negundo.

The Boxelder Maple Trees have different names as Manitoba Maple Trees and Ash Leaved Maple. Also, they can grow upto 78-80 ft and they are fast growing Maple Trees. They require little care, and they can grow in full sunlight as well as in shady areas.

The leaves of the Boxelder Maple Trees are light green that change their color to Yellow in the fall. Their leaves have 3 lobes that look like the leaves of ivy poison. They have serrate margins too.

The bark of Boxelder leaves is pale gray in the beginning that changes to dark brown and with deep wrinkles when the time passes.

Norway Maple Tree:

Norway Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of Norway Maple Tree is: Acer Platanoides.

The Norway Maple Trees have an extensive crown on them. They are native to Europe, so it justifies the name as Norway Maple Tree. Maple trees do not require perfect soil to grow as they can also grow in poor soil quickly. Moreover, their growth is also excellent upto 100 ft. That suggests that they are tall.

The leaves of Norway Maple Trees are teeth-like but typically have smooth margins. The size of leaves can be upto 5″. They have five lobes as well.

The bark is generally gray with some mixed brown shade as well in color, and they have wrinkled and furrowed structures.

Sycamore Maple Tree:

Sycamore Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of the Sycamore Maple Tree is Acer Pseudoplatanus.

Sycamore Maple Trees are large Deciduous trees and have dense Foliage with branches and large leaves. As the name suggests, they are not really from the family of Sycamores. The botanical name contains work Pseudo, so that means False.They belong to the Acer Genus family. Their growth length is quite right, and they can grow upto 42-63 ft.

 Sycamore Maple tree leaves have growth between 5″-10″ long and have margins between the lobes. They contain five lobes with a rounded shape. Moreover, the leaves look like Sycamore leaves, so the name has been justified here.

Sycamore Maple Tree’s bark is pinkish-brown from inside, and from outside, it is scaly and rough as per the maturity falls on it.

Amur Maple Tree:

Amur Maple Tree

The Botanical name of Amur Maple Tree is Acer Ginnala.

The Amur Maple Trees have small structures, and they can grow as small Trees and small shrubs. They have a growth length between 15-35 ft. They do not need much care as well. They grow well in full sun as well as in poor soil. So, it is relatively easy to grow them in your garden. Also, they have big crowns on their head that are round and dense. They are also multi-stemmed shrubs.

The leaves of Amur Maple Trees are of compact length between 2″-4″. They have 3 or 5 lobes and have teeth-like structures at margins. The leaves change their color from Red or Yellow in Fall.

Amur Maple Tree’s bark is smooth and gray in the beginning and then changes to fissured flaky as time passes.

Big Leaf Maple Tree:

Big Leaf Maple Tree

The Botanical Name of the Big Leaf Maple Tree is Acer Macrophyllum.

The Big Leaf Maple Trees have the largest leaf size, as the name suggests, and they are native to North America. Also, they are giant trees that can grow upto 160 ft. These are also called Oregon Maples.

The leaves of Big Leaf Maple Trees are huge as they can be upto 12″ with deep indentations between the lobes. They have five lobes, and the leaves change to Golden Yellow in fall.

The bark of Big Leaf Maple is Reddish Brown with the deep furrowed structure in the tree’s mature ages.

So, above are the significant identification pointers and images of the different varieties of Maple trees for your gardening interest. Now you can choose your favorite one and grow it in your landscape that will add to the scenic beauty and a soothing effect during sunset. At this point, with complete knowledge about Maple Trees, no one can stop you from being the best one to choose the best one. Just Rock!

Good Luck with your Maple plantation!

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