Identification: See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features. Soft maple is only slightly softer than hard, sugar maple. Red maple is far more abundant today than when Europeans first arrived in North America. The staminate flowers are sessile. Lookalikes/Substitutes: Red maple is more or less indistinguishable from other soft maples such as striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum), however, it can usually be separated from hard maple (A. saccharum) according to techniques in this article.
 Red maple's western range stops with the Great Plains where conditions become too dry for it. The absence of red maple from the Prairie Peninsula is most likely due to the tree's poor tolerance of wildfires. Though they eventually die if no light reaches them, they serve as a reservoir, waiting to fill any open area of the canopy above. Soil acidity can influence the color of the foliage and trees with female flowers are more likely to produce orange coloration while male trees produce red. Due to their wide range, genetically the trees have adapted to the climatic differences. After they reach maturity, the seeds are dispersed for a 1 to 2 week period from April through July. , Red maple's maximum lifespan is 150 years, but most live less than 100 years.  Its ability to thrive in a large number of habitats is largely due to its ability to produce roots to suit its site from a young age. It is used commercially on a small scale for maple syrup production as well as for its medium to high quality lumber. Seedlings are tallest in the north-central and east-central part of the range. They are borne on long slender stems and are variable in color from light brown to reddish.
There it is frequently found in many parks and yards. The leaf scars on the twig are V-shaped and contain 3 bundle scars. Many cultivars of the Freeman maple are also grown widely. The red maple is used as a food source by several forms of wildlife. Box elder, along with bigleaf, silver, and striped maple, … They appear in late winter to early spring, from December to May depending on elevation and latitude, usually before the leaves. Varieties of Maple When buying maple from your lumber supplier, you may hear plenty of names for the wood: tiger maple, curly maple, birds-eye maple, fiddle back maple, red maple, soft maple, hard maple—the list goes on. Its flowers, petioles, twigs and seeds are all red to varying degrees. Red Leaf Maple is commonly called soft maple, but the name often fools many woodworkers. The flowers are red with 5 small petals and a 5-lobed calyx, usually at the twig tips. In this context, the term "soft" is more comparative, than descriptive; i.e., "soft maple", while softer than its harder cousin, sugar maple (A. saccharum), is still a fairly hard wood, being comparable to black cherry (Prunus serotina) in this regard. Dwarf shoots are present on many branches. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Common Uses: Veneer, paper (pulpwood), boxes, crates/pallets, musical instruments, turned objects, and other small specialty wood items. Because it tolerates compact, wet soils and city pollution, the red maple is often planted in urban environments.
 The species is native to all regions of the United States east of the 95th meridian. Red maple is most abundant in the Northeastern US, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and northeastern Wisconsin and is rare in the extreme west of its range and in the Southeastern US. At maturity, it often attains a height of around 30 m (100 ft). A single tree between 5 and 20 cm (2.0 and 7.9 in) in diameter can produce between 12,000 and 91,000 seeds in a season. Finally, disease epidemics have greatly reduced the population of elms and chestnuts in the forests of the US. This species is in fact a vital part of forest regeneration in the same way that paper birch is. Syrup, in small amounts, can be prepared from its sap.
Red maple is common over a very large area of the eastern Untied States, and its wood tends to be slightly heavier, stronger, and harder than other species in the grouping of soft maples, though it is still not as strong as hard maple. Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood.
The following cultivars are completely male and are highly allergenic, with an OPALS allergy scale rating of 8 or higher:, The following cultivars have an OPALS allergy scale rating of 3 or lower; they are completely female trees, and have low potential for causing allergies:, The leaves of red maple, especially when dead or wilted, are extremely toxic to horses.  The petals are lineal to oblong in shape and are pubescent.  Its ideal conditions are in moderately well-drained, moist sites at low or intermediate elevations. Silver maple will produce 17.0 million BTU's per cord.
Red maple is common over a very large area of the eastern Untied States, and its wood tends to be slightly heavier, stronger, and harder than other species in the grouping of soft maples, though it is still not as strong as hard maple. Comments: Red maple is appropriately named, as its flowers, twigs, seeds, and autumn leaves (shown below) are all red. Elk and white-tailed deer in particular use the current season's growth of red maple as an important source of winter food.
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