Red maple (Acer rubrum)

Lining East College Drive Map

This tree is known for its brilliant fall colors (upper photo). Two dozen Red Maples line East College Way near the Environmental Studies and Communications buildings and other specimens are scattered throughout campus. Red maple is an excellent ornamental tree. In the spring it bursts forth with a fine display of scarlet flowers and in the fall its leaves assume a brilliant scarlet red. Even its twigs are red. It is a tree that lives up to its name.

Red maple is native to eastern North America. Its environmental diversity and its attractive visual qualities has led Acer rubrum to be planted far and wide throughout Europe and North America. There also are many distinct cultivars, adapted to many different circumstances. There seems to be a red maple for nearly every occasion.

The wood of the red maple is soft and thus has few uses in the building industry; in some areas it is used for pulp. You can make maple syrup from its sap, but not very efficiently. Certainly the main reason to plant red maple is because it is pretty. But if you plant one, think ahead; trees over 150 ft. tall and 6 ft. in diameter are known.