"This is one of the first trees to show color in the fall. The leaves are opposite, with three to five palmate lobes and toothed margins on long red stems. The red maple has a slightly smaller leaf than most other species of maples. Its leaves' most distinctive feature is a rough, saw-like edge. If the leaf margin, or edge, of your maple's leaves appear serrated, it is probably a red maple. The bark of young trees is smooth and silvery-gray, becoming scaly and dark with age. Small, red flowers in clusters mature in late winter, and the tree is one of the first to flower in early spring. During spring, light brown or red-winged samaras mature. In the fall the leaves turn orange-red, though the brilliance of this color can vary among individual trees. It is easy to plant and establish as a transplant of a small specimen bare-root, or balled and burlapped.
"This tree is the best choice for a soft maple. It makes an excellent lawn, park, or street tree. It has some tolerance for air pollution. The light, creme-colored wood, which is known commercially as soft maple, is heavy, closed grained, and rather weak. It is used as pulpwood and in the manufacture of furniture and woodenware." (North Carolina Extension)
"Vertebrate animals use Red Maple and other maples as a source of food, nesting habitat, and cover. Some upland gamebirds (Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Bobwhite, etc.) and songbirds (Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, Evening Grosbeak, etc.) eat the seeds and buds, while the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker drills holes into the bark to feed on sap (see Bird Table). Woodpeckers and other insectivorous songbirds often search for the many insects that feed on maples; these insects are especially important in feeding young nestlings. Twigs and sometimes the leaves of Red Maple are browsed by White-Tailed Deer and Elk, primarily during the winter when other foods are scarce; the leaves of this tree are reportedly toxic to cattle and horses. The Cottontail Rabbit sometimes eats the seedlings, while tree squirrels occasionally eat the seeds. The cavities of older trees are used as nesting habitat by some birds (Screech Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Duck, Northern Flicker, Tree Swallow) and tree squirrels (Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel); such cavities are also used by various tree-roosting bats." (Hilty)
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- "Red Maple during autumn on Lower Ferry Road in Ewing, New Jersey" By Famartin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36970075
"Red Maple (Acer rubrum)" is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
North Carolina Extension plant description: Acer Rubrum (Carolina Maple, Curled Maple, Drummond’s Maple, Red Maple, Scarlet Maple, Soft Maple, Swamp Maple) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/acer-rubrum/. Accessed 9 Feb. 2022.
John Hilty botany, cultivation and faunal associations: John Hilty, "Red Maple", Illinois Wildflowers, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 9 February 2022
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