Red Maple

Acer rubrum

Red maple in fall foliage

Red maple is a beautiful and useful tree widespread in the eastern U.S. This native tree is typically 40-70 feet tall, and one of the first to flower in the spring and show its fall colors of orange and red. It wears red for most of the season, as the leaf stems are typically red and the winged seeds, called samaras, are brown or red-tinged. The wood of the red maple is relatively soft when compared to other maples, but is used for furniture, woodenware, cabinets, veneer, and flooring, among many other products. Native Americans used maple splits to make baskets and taught pioneers that, like its related species sugar maple, the sap of red maple can be boiled to produce maple syrup. The Cherokee also made bark tea to treat measles, hives, and other conditions. Its flowers attract pollinators, and its seeds are an important food source for squirrels in late winter and early spring.

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