Maple Tree Guide: 14 Species, Types, Colors, Identification, Diseases

Maple tree leaves in the fall turning bright reddish orange placed in an oval frame with a green border.

Maple trees offer a, richly colored, distinctive element to the scene in fall when their leaves turn vibrant shades of crimson,9 gold, and yellow, and some varieties are well known for their ability to produce delicious Maple syrup.

But, did you know that the Maple tree is in danger? Although they’re a favorite with gardeners and foresters alike because of the wide, leafy canopy they create, which is perfect for shade and animal habitats, nearly one-third of the species is threatened with extinction. The study was conducted by Botanic Gardens Conservation International and found that over 100 species are in danger, especially in China.

So, if you are looking to buy or plant maple trees, or you simply want to know how to identify these lovely trees and keep them healthy, keep reading.

Maple Tree


Maple tree leaves in the fall turning bright reddish orange enclosed in an oval frame with a green border.
  • Family: Sapindaceae
  • Genus: Acer
  • Leaf: bright green with very few large teeth
  • Bark: pale grey and smooth
  • Seed: double winged seed pods
  • Blossoms: Bright red and usually grow in clusters
  • Fruit: paired and yellowish-red
  • Native Habitat: Asia
  • Height: 33-148 feet
  • Canopy: Wide canopy and root system
  • Type: Deciduous

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Near Threatened


This Maple tree guide explains everything you ever wanted to know about this gorgeous, and (sometimes) deliciously deciduous tree.

Maple Tree Native Region and Habitat Growing Needs

Maple trees are mostly native to Asia, although some come from Europe, northern Africa, and North America. They shed their leaves in the fall, but there are several evergreen species of endemics in the Mediterranean area that defy this rule.

Maple trees can live for hundreds of years, making them a good tree to sequester carbon and help lower your carbon footprint.

Maple tree identification chart with maple leaves, maple tree flower, maple tree, maple tree seeds, and maple tree bark in oval frames.

USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9 are preferred by most maple trees, however, a few cold hardy maples may withstand sub-zero winters in zone 3.

Soil that is well-drained and wet is good for the growth of maple trees, and the soil should have a fine to medium texture.

How To Identify Maple Tree: (Maple Tree Identification)

Your maple’s growth patterns may be affected by environmental variables including soil quality and sunlight exposure. As an alternative, seek dependable maple tree identification markers like the form of the leaves or the bark.11

Maple Tree Leaves (Maple Tree Leaf)

Leaves of maple trees are lobed, with three to nine lobes and they are wide with distinct veining. A specific maple species may be identified by its lobes (number), margin serration (depth), indentations (width), form, and coloration.

Maple Tree Bark

As a maple tree ages, its bark develops a dark brown hue. The bark of a maple tree consists of a series of horizontal plates that are divided by thin grooves. More rounded and smoother bark is seen on certain kinds of maple trees.

There are maple tree species with more slick bark than others, as may be seen above.

Maple Flowers

Clusters of bright red blossoms occur in the spring before the leaves have even come out of their buds. It is possible for two red maple trees to appear quite different during the blossoming time of their respective species.

Maple tree leaf identification chart with japanese maple, red maple, sugar maple, silver maple, dwarf japanese maple, Chinese maple, autumn blaze maple, crimson king maple, bloodgood maple, red sunset maple, October glory maple, and norway maple leaves in oval frames.

On certain trees, only male or only female flowers bloom on Red Maples. Female flowers are red, while male blooms are greenish-yellow.

Maple Sap for Syrup

At least 98 percent water and 2 percent sugar make up the sap of a sugar maple tree, which yields a delectable sweetener. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup and boiling the sap removes the water and concentrates the sugar.

Maple Tree Seeds (Helicopters!)

Most “helicopter” seeds, also known as Samara fruit, are produced by red maples, silver maples, Norway maples, and Japanese maples.

Maple tree seed identification chart with sugar maple, red maple, Japanese maple, crimson king maple, and silver maple tree seeds in oval frames.

It is possible to witness the growth of helicopter seeds from late spring through early summer. In the same way that leaves are blown off by the wind after they’ve matured, helicopter seeds do the same.

Maple Tree Diseases: How to Identify and Stop Maple Tree Decline

Here are the most common maple tree disease3 and how you can prevent them:


Symptoms: Discolored wood, bald areas, and smaller than usual leaves near the crown are all symptoms of this disease.
Cause: The fungus “Ceratocystis virescens” is to blame.
Treatment: Protecting roots from injury is the only kind of treatment. Some trees can be saved, but others will have to be destroyed.
Season: Mostly in the late spring and early summer.
Risk Level: A high-risk level is involved. To prevent the spread of the disease, remove any afflicted trees

Root Rot

Symptoms: Fruiting structures” appear on the bark of the trunk and roots, while “bleeding” cankers appear on wood in cases of Phytophthora.
Causes: One of the most common culprits is the Phytophthora fungus, but other fungi can also play a role, including Fomes, Ganoderma, and Laetiporus
Treatment: Complete removal of a tree
Season: Spring wet season
Risk Level: The disease has a fatal effect

Powdery Mildew

Symptoms: A white, powdery material appears on the leaves
Causes: The Phyllactinia fungus is to blame.
Treatment: The use of any treatment is not necessary. Fungicide may be saved by using horticultural oil or brushing the fungus off.
Season: Late summer and the beginning of fall
Risk Level: A modest level of risk exists.

Leaf Scorch

Symptoms: Dried-up leaves that become brown.
Causes: High temperatures; poor soil moisture.
Treatments: include watering and mulching to keep the soil wet and pruning of dead branches.
Season: Summer, especially in the months of July and August
Risk Level: not life-threatening risk

14 Types of Maple Tree Species (Other Names for Maple Trees)

In lawns, parks, and along roadways, maple trees are among the most popular ornamental trees. They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, and many of them are particularly beautiful in the fall.

Some produce maple syrup, while others provide solid, durable wood for furniture for other purposes. Maple twigs have oppositely oriented leaves. Lobed leaves are common in maples, although some have leaflets.

1. Japanese Maple Tree (Japanese Red Maple Tree)

As a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub, the Japanese red maple is a versatile,10 beautiful, and resilient plant. Red or reddish-purple colors appear on the 5-7-9-inch-long leaves in spring and autumn.

Colors may range from being bright red all summer to fading somewhat in the heat or even turning green in the middle.

Japanese Maple Tree in a garden, with red leaves overhanging some umbrellas made from paper and bamboo.

(Image: Ryutaro Tsukata18)

The crimson, winged samaras mature in early October and are paired fruits. The bark is rather smooth. Reddish purple and reddish-brown stems become gray as they mature.

Ideally, Japanese maples require wet, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH, as well as dappled shade, while they will grow slower and become greener in full sun.

High winds and late spring frosts may damage young leaves. When it’s dry, you’ll need to water it.

Specimen, accent, shrub border, grouping, or using this species for bonsai trees are all possible uses. Just follow the rules for how to care for a bonsai tree and how to trim a bonsai tree to make sure it flourishes. It may reach a height of 15 to 25 feet, with a spread of 20 feet.

Red Maple Tree Leaves, with varying shades of red, orange, and yellow.

(Image: thomashendele19)

2. Red Maple Tree

Red maple trees are known for their reddish-orange fall foliage, which gives them their name.14 The crimson maple, swamp maple, and water maple are also other names for this tree.

It’s a beautiful tree in the fall because of its red leaves, and it will make a statement in any yard.

Some red maple variants may grow up to 120 feet in ideal conditions. However, the majority of red maples are smaller, ranging in height from 40 to 60 feet.

The red maple is a widespread natural tree across most of North America, regardless of climate. North to Southern Newfoundland, south to Florida, and west to Eastern Texas are all viable habitats for red maple.

Like the cherry blossom tree, this tree can flourish in many regions.

3. Sugar Maple Tree

Sugar maple is also known as hard or rock maple is a species of tree native to eastern North America.16 The tree is commonly planted as an ornamental and shade tree. In addition to producing maple syrup, maple sugar, and hardwood lumber for furniture and flooring, it is a valuable supply of timber.

Sugar Maple Tree, with no leaves, with clusters of budding green flowers dangling from long flower stalks.

(Image: Scottslm20)

It is possible for a sugar maple tree to reach a height of 40 meters. Fall colors range from golden to red on the thick canopy of leaves.

During the spring, the plant’s three- to five-lobed leaves emerge. The leaves are called samaras because of the way they are arranged in pairs.

Branches and the trunk of this tree have smooth grey bark that becomes wrinkled with time. It is possible for certain trees to produce unique wood grain patterns like bird’s-eye maple, and curly and fiddle back maple, with wavy or rippling grain, respectively.

Close-up of Silver Maple Tree’s thin branches with green leaves.

(Image: WaxPro21)

4. Silver Maple Tree

A fast-growing shade tree of the soapberry family, the silver maple also known as soft maple is a huge, spreading tree.15  It is native to the eastern United States, although it is commonly grown in many parts worldwide.

In good conditions, it may reach a height of 18 meters with a thick trunk and an uneven crown, with thin drooping branches that bend upward at the ends. Initially, the bark is smooth and gray, but as it ages, it begins to flake. The five-lobed, deeply cut leaf has a bright green upper surface and a silvery underside.

In the spring, before the leaves begin to emerge, little greenish blossoms grow on the stalks. The paired, winged fruits of any maple are the biggest.

Like with Oak tree acorns, squirrels and birds consume the seeds, while deer devour the young twigs and leaves. Crates and low-cost furniture have been made from softwood. Similarly, the syrup may be made from sap, but only in a little amount.


5. Dwarf Japanese Maple Tree

Due to their tolerance for partial shade, many miniature maples are suitable understory plants for the addition of color and solitude without crowding. There are several benefits to adopting dwarf Japanese maples in your landscape, including a sense of tranquility and a sense of calmness.

Dwarf Japanese Maple Tree, with rich reddish foliage.

(Image: Susbany22)

Dwarf maples do well in containers because of their small size.6 It is possible for certain dwarf maples to remain in the same pot for a long time without having to be sized up or root clipped because of their modest growth rate.

You may use dwarf maples to produce stunning small bonsai trees for both professionals and novices. Beginners will benefit most from slower-growing varieties, which need less trimming and experience.

Close-up of young green Chinese Maple leaves on a thin branch.

(Image: Krzysztof Ziarnek23)

6. Chinese Maple Tree

Most commonly, the term Chinese maple is used to describe Acer griseum (the Chinese paperbark maple),17 but it can refer to Acer truncatum (Chinese Shandong maple). Both trees are about the same size as common Japanese maples, though the Shandong maple has the potential to grow considerably in the future.

Both trees have maple-like leaves that turn a fiery red and orange in the fall and early winter.

The reddish-brown bark of the Chinese paperbark maple, on the other hand, is unique and sheds over time. The Chinese Shandong maple, on the other hand, has a smooth bark that develops shallow ridges as the tree ages, like the Cottonwood tree and Banyan tree.

7. Autumn Blaze Maple Tree

Autumn blaze maple is a good tree with a sturdy branch system and can perform well in different environments.1 The glossy green leaves continue on the tree changing from orange-red to bright scarlet in the autumn.

Close up image of Autumn Blaze Maple tree and its thin branch and reddish, green and orange leaves.

(Image: Famartin24)

Autumn blaze maple tree grows relatively quickly, 45′-50′ in height with a 35′-40′ spread. It adapts to a broad variety of temperatures and soils, but needs acid soil and is salt-sensitive. It loves a wet setting and withstands full sun to light shade, zones 4-8.

Close-up of Crimson King Maple Tree leaves, with large deep-red leaves.

(Image: Famartin25)

8. Crimson King Maple Tree

The crimson king is a stunning specimen that can thrive in a wide range of soils and environments.5 Because of this, the tree is a popular choice for residential street trees in urban areas.

With its dense, symmetrical oval-shaped crest that effectively blocks sunlight, the crimson king is a good shade tree that can reach 35 to 45 feet in height, like Magnolia tree shade. As a result of their upright growth habit, trees’ branches are relatively impervious to ice and snow damage.

9. Bloodgood Japanese Maple Tree

When it comes to deciduous trees, you can’t go wrong with the Japanese maple Bloodgood variety.7 Although they can be used in bonsai, they are more commonly used as specimen trees. Spring is the time when their red leaves are most vibrant, and this is when they produce their flowers.

Red Japanese maple leaves with a background of a pale sky.

(Image: It’s No Game26)

In the summer, the color becomes burgundy or darker. It’s possible for the foliage to be beautiful in all three seasons of the year, making it a worthwhile investment. At maturity, this common tree can grow up to 20 feet in height, but it is a slow grower.

Close-up of Norway Maple Tree leaves, with large green leaves.

(Image: MONGO27)

10. Norway Maple Tree

Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is a tall deciduous tree that may grow up to around 40-60 feet in height.4 They are resistant to many various growth settings and have been a common tree to put on lawns and along sidewalks because of their resilience.

Norway maples have extremely shallow roots and provide a considerable degree of shade which makes it tough for grass and other vegetation to thrive in the ground cover. Additionally, they are good seed producers and are already infiltrating forests and forest margins.

11. Maple Syrup Tree (Sugar Maple)

Sugar maple trees provide the best source of maple syrup and maple sugar, but other maple trees can also be used. Sugar maples also produce hardwood timber used in furniture and flooring manufacturing. It is possible for the sugar maple tree to reach a height of 130 feet.

A close up photo of a sugar maple tree with green leaves.

(Image: Bruce Marlin28)

Leaf color ranges from gold to crimson in the autumn, with a thick crown of foliage. The trunk and branches’ smooth grey bark progressively wrinkles over time.

A Japanese Maple Dwarf tree with crooked branches and a green leaves in a grass field cemetery.

(Image: Msact29)

12. Japanese Maple Tree Dwarf

The tree’s confined growth, paired with its crooked, meandering branches gives enormous appeal, even in the winter season when the leaves are long gone. And it only becomes better when its wispy, airy foliage opens up in the spring, summer, and autumn.

Dwarf Japanese maples suffer in extremely damp or hard soils.12 They require soil with strong drainage capabilities to keep excess moisture to a limit. Amending the planting hole with a 50/50 mix of compost and topsoil can assist greatly with drainage.

13. Red Sunset Maple Tree

As far as autumn color and branch structure go, Red Sunset is one of the best varieties around.8 Leaves and twigs, as well as the crimson fruits and buds of the summer season, are reddish-purple in hue. Fall brings the tree’s shiny green leaves to a dazzling scarlet as they transform from orange to orange-red.

A close up photo of a red sunset maple tree branch with red orange old leaves.

(Image: Ayotte30)

Its height is from 45 to 50 feet and its breadth is 35 to 40 feet. Despite its versatility, it needs acidic soil and is sensitive to salt. Tolerates full sun to light shade, and loves a wet location Zones 4 to 8.

Close up photo of an October Glory Maple tree branch with reddish and green leaves.

(Image: David J. Stang31)

14. October Glory Maple Tree

The ever-popular maple should be regarded as a magnificent shade tree addition to any yard.13 A blaze of blazing red appears in the late autumn, and it lasts for many weeks.

Spring is the time of year when these little red blooms blossom. Numerous species of birds and fauna are drawn in by the bright red fruit.

The October Glory Maple tree reaches 40-50 feet in height and spreads 25-35 feet wide. It’s tolerant of a wide range of soils, but loves wet, slightly acidic conditions. Partial to full sun exposure is ideal.

Facts About the Maple Tree

  • The size of a maple tree varies based on the type of maple tree that it is. It is possible to grow some maples as bonsai, while others can grow up to 145 feet tall, depending on the variety.
  • Maple trees have brown bark that is both smooth and rough depending on the age of the tree. A dense and fibrous root system impedes the growth of the nearby plants.
  • Leaves can have anywhere from three to nine lobes. Each branch has two sets of opposites on it. Leaf coloration changes from green to a variety of golden-orange and scarlet hues in the autumn.
  • Maple tree flowers come in a variety of hues, including green, yellow, orange, and red. Inflorescences are clusters of individual flowers, both male and female. Bees and other insects are the primary pollinators of flowers.

How Is Maple Tree Syrup Made?

Cutting the bark or drilling a hole into some types of maple trees in the early spring may cause clear sap to pour out. This sap, which is practically water-like in consistency, contains roughly 2% sugar (sucrose).

 A bucket hanging on a hook attached to a spile inserted into a maple tree trunk to collect sap for Maple syrup making.

(Image: thankful4hope32)

Maple syrup may be made by boiling the sap to remove the water. One gallon of maple syrup requires 30 or 40 gallons of sap. Over the course of four weeks, a single tree might produce 10 gallons (38 liters) of sap.

How To Grow Maple Tree

There are two ways of growing maple trees.2 Here is a maple tree guide to help you:

From Cuttings

In the middle of summer or fall, take 4-inch cuttings from the tips of young trees and remove the bottom half of the stem’s leaves. Roll powdered rooting hormone on the bottom stem bark after scraping it with a knife.

Maple tree growth chart showing a line graph with Maple tree age on the x-axis and Maple tree height on the y-axis.

In a wet rooting medium, place the cutting’s lowest 2 inches. Encase the pot in a plastic bag or cover it with a milk jug with the bottom cut off to keep the air surrounding the plant wet. After they have taken root, take the cuttings out of the plastic and plant them in a bright spot to keep them healthy.

From Tree Seeds

Keep the seeds in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 60 to 90 days so they may sprout before planting them in the ground. Upon removal from the refrigerator, set out the pots in a warm spot to germinate, and then move them to a bright window to grow. Always keep the soil wet.

Folklore, Significance, and Medicinal Qualities of Maple Tree

  • A peaceful wood used for cleansing and healing. Cleansing rituals, as well as money and luck spells, may utilize this as a basis for loose incense.
  • Using Maple, you can see all of your alternatives, even if they’re concealed in plain sight. Make smart decisions rather than relying on chance.
  • The maple tree represents several things in Native American iconography, among them generosity, balance, promise, and pragmatism.
  • An important source of food for the Algonquian tribes of the northwestern United States and western Canada, the Maple tree was used to make Maple sugar, Maple syrup, and taffy sweets.
  • In the treatment of blindness, drops containing a bark component infusion have been utilized. Sore eyes have been treated with sap. When it comes to cough and expectorant remedies, the inner bark has long been employed.
  • Maple syrup has been touted as a kidney cleanser.

Maple is the best tree if you want to add stunning color throughout the gloomy days of autumn and winter. With the right planting and upkeep, the tree will enhance the landscape for many years to come, and with the many varieties available, there is a maple tree that will satisfy everyone’s preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions About Maple Trees

Where Can I Find a Japanese Maple Tree for Sale?

You can buy a Japanese Maple tree from reputable online vendors, but if you can locate one at a local nursery, that’s always the best way to reduce the emissions from the purchase.

What Are the Benefits of a Maple Tree?

Some of the biochemical components found in maples’ leaves, bark, and sap have the potential to combat inflammation, which is at the base of many disorders. People with diabetes or those at risk of developing the disease may benefit from having maple syrup, which has been shown to lower blood glucose.

Is the Maple Tree Native to Canada?

In Canada, there are ten maple species that are native to the region. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is the most well-known of them. The maple leaf is the country’s official arboreal symbol, and it appears on the Canadian flag.

Where Is the Best Place To Plant a Maple Tree?

Choose a spot with full sun or some shade, well-drained soil, and a hole as broad and deep as the container (between 61 and 91 cm). When placing the plant in the hole, make sure the soil line on the stem is parallel to the soil’s edge.

What Is the Significance of the Maple Tree?

The attributes of balance, offering, promise, longevity, generosity, and wisdom are represented by maple trees.

Read More About Maple Tree


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