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Weed Identification

red maple



Scientific Name

Acer rubrum var. trilobum

Other Common Names:

Carolina red maple

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Acer carolinianum
Acer rubrum var. tridens
Rufacer carolinianum


Has a pyramidal shape at a young age and escalating branches with an irregular spherical crown. The red maple grows between 40-70 feet tall. Seedlings of this ornamental tree can be particularly troublesome in the home lawn.


Leaves are bright yellow to orange to red in the fall. Leaf blades have medium green upper sides and light green to silvery undersides in the summer. Blades are about 3in long and 3in wide and are often triangular shape.

Identifying Characteristics

Ability to grow successfully on sites with very different moisture availability is due in part to the early development of roots specifically adapted to the conditions at a particular site.

Flower Seed Head

Noticeable long before the foliage emerges. They have small fragrant red flowers in dense clusters in late winter to early spring.

Seed Fruit

Seed is a paired, red, pink, or yellow, winged samara, about long. Fruits are winged with a single seed at the base.

Where Found

Grows in low, rich woods, along the margins of lakes, marshes, and swamps, also in wet thickets, floodplains and stream terraces.

Growth Habit

woody bush or tree

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter


Dominant Flower Color


Flower Symmetry

not symmetrical

Leaf Hairs

has hairs
no hairs

Leaf Shape


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Margin


Leaf Structure


Leaf Stalk

shorter than leaf

Stem Hairs

no hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Life Cycle



not present

Plant Type