Native Plant Trust

Acer pensylvanicum

striped maple


Striped maple is a lovely understory tree with interesting bark and broad, tri-lobed leaves. Distinctive year round, this small tree is appropriate for partial shade, where it will provide four seasons' worth of interest.

Click on these links to read in detail:  General Description | Benefits | Ecology | References


Height: 15-25 ft
Spread: 7-10 ft
Hardiness Zone: 3-7


Bloom Color: Insignificant

Characteristics & Attributes

Cultivation Status
Species
Exposure
Part Shade
Shade
Soil Moisture
Average
Ecoregion
(83) Eastern Great Lakes Lowlands
(59) Northeastern Coastal Zone
(84) Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens
(82) Acadian Plains and Hills
(58) Northeastern Highlands
Ornamental Interest
Winter Interest and/or Evergreen
Fall Foliage
Attracts Wildlife
Other Pollinators/Wildlife
Host Plant
Pollinator Powerhouse Plant
Additional Attributes
Dioecious (fruits only on female plants)


North American Distribution


General Description

Bloom Description: Flowers are discreet, and fall color is a clear yellow.


Growth Habit & Shape: Acer pensylvanicum is a short tree or tall shrub typically found in the wild growing among taller forest trees. It has interesting vertically-striped bark that can range from green with tan or yellow stripes to a deep purple-black with tan stripes. The leaves are broad and not deeply lobed.

Soil Preferences: Well-drained, acidic upland soils (as opposed to lowland soils, which would hold water more frequently).

Root Description: Shallow, fibrous, diffuse root system.

Garden Uses: Acer pensylvanicum is a nice specimen plant for the garden. Its short stature and interesting bark make it ideal for small spaces. It grows best in dappled shade.

Best Management & Maintenance: This small tree can be maintained as a shrub or tree. It can be slow to establish and prefers cool, upland sites with acidic soil. This plant will not tolerate hot, sunny locations, so find a place for it where shade will protect it from hot summer sun.

Common Problems: Abiotic: leaf scorch in full sun
Biotic: verticilium wilt, root rot, tar spot as is common among maples (the genus Acer)

Benefits

Ornamental Value: The striped bark and bright red buds provide lovely winter interest, and the yellow leaves are big and bright in fall.

Wildlife Benefits: Mammals that browse the twigs include snowshoe hare, porcupine, deer, red squirrel and moose. The tree is also known as moosewood. Chipmunks eat the seeds, and it is good nesting habitat for small birds such as warblers

Other Practical/Environmental Benefits: erosion control

Use in place of: -

Ecology

Habitat:
In the wild, grows primarily in cool, upland areas of acidic woodlands throughout New England and lower Canada.


Response to Disturbance: Does not tolerate a lot of disturbance. Cutting the plant can allow a more shrubby growth as it creates suckers fromt he cut stem. It does not want or need canopy opening and needs time to become well established.

Native State Distributions:
Canada: NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
USA: CT, DC, GA, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV


Wetland indicator status: FACU

References

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striped maple - Acer pensylvanicum from Native Plant Trust
Photo by Dan Jaffe (c) Native Plant Trust
striped maple - Acer pensylvanicum from Native Plant Trust
Photo by Frank Bramley (c) Native Plant Trust