Striped Maple – Acer pensylvanicum

Striped Maple / Family Aceraceae
Native to North America, also called
goosefoot, moosewood, snakebark maple,
and pennsylvanischer Ahorn (German).

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Striped Maple - Acer pensylvanicum
Acer pensylvanicum

Striped maple is a small tree or large shrub identified by its conspicuous vertical white stripes on greenish-brown bark. It grows best on shaded, cool northern slopes of upland valleys where it is common on well drained sandy loams in small forest openings or as an understory tree in mixed hardwoods. This very slow growing maple may live to be 100 and is probably most important as a browse plant for wildlife, although the tree is sometimes planted as an ornamental in heavily shaded areas.
Striped Maple Leaves
Striped maple is widely distributed over the northeastern quarter of the United States and southeastern Canada. Its natural range extends from Nova Scotia and the Gaspe' Peninsula of Quebec, west to southern Ontario, Michigan, and eastern Minnesota; south to northeastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and in the mountains to northern Georgia. The species is distinct from other maples, and there is no evidence of intergrading with other species. [4]


Striped maple produces a crop of flowers each year, under either arboretum or natural conditions. Blooming occurs in May and June and begins after the leaves are nearly mature. Flowers are usually pseudo hermaphroditic, yellow, and about 6 mm (0.25 in) in diameter, occurring in pendulous racemes that range from 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) in length.

Functional male flowers have a rudimentary pistil that may occasionally be absent; functional female flowers develop stamens but the pollen sacs do not dehisce. A few flowers have been found that appear to be functionally perfect. Flowering may occur among trees as young as 11 years old and as small as 1 m (3.3 ft) in height.

Fruits of striped maple are samaras borne on pedicels ranging from 10 to 15 mm (0.4 to 0.6 in) in length. Their color is somewhat reddish in early development, changing later to tan. Wings are widely divergent with nutlets about 20 mm (0.8 in) long. [4]

1. Striped Maple – Acer pensylvanicum, Morton Arboretum acc. 157-97*1, photos: Bruce Marlin
2. USDA NRCS Plants Database, “Acer pensylvanicum L. striped maple"
3. USDA GRIN, “Taxon: Acer pensylvanicum L.
4. William J. Gabriel and Russell S. Walters, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, "Striped Maple"
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Family Aceraceae – Maples
The Maples are some of our most familiar and beloved trees.  Most are native to the far east: China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria. Maples produce a distinctive winged fruit called a samara, also commonly known as helicopters or whirlybirds.
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