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Acer glabrum is often confused with:
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus nigra Form
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Quercus phellos Quercus phellos

Rock Maple Acer glabrum

Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser GLAH-brum
Description

A deciduous shrub or small shade tree with smooth bark in the Sapindaceae family.  Grows well in a woodland garden.  Prefers dappled shade, moist soils, and protection from the wind.  It is primarily grown for its ornamental red fruit and has interesting red twigs and stand out yellow-to-red fall color.  This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should only be pruned in summer after the leaves have fully developed, as it may 'bleed' sap if pruned in late winter or early spring.   Works well for erosion control.

Some native American tribes use the Acer glabrum for medicinal purposes, as well as for crafting tools.

Glabrum means smooth, without hair, referring to its smooth stems and leaves. The species is named after David Douglas, a Scottish botanist who in addition to this tree, is also known for the Douglas fir.

Seasons of Interest:

    Foliage:  Fall, yellow to red  Fruit: Late summer, red samara  Twigs: Winter, red

Site: Can withstand sandy, loamy, and heavy clay soils, prefers well-drained soil and needs lots of organic matter and a low pH (acid). It performs best in semi-shade (light woodland) to shade. It prefers moist soil. It will benefit from being planted in a location sheltered from strong winds, frost, and afternoon sun.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant insect or disease problems.  Can show chlorosis of the leaves (yellowing) in alkaline (basic) soils.  Applying a layer of mulch around the root zone in summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect the roots in exposed locations or colder microclimates. 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#small tree#shade tree#wildlife plant#moths#shade garden#cover plant#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#playground#erosion control#small mammals#food source#fast growing#samara#nighttime garden#children's garden#red fruits#red stems#nesting sites#multitrunked#larval host plant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#woodlands#moth larva#imperial moth
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#small tree#shade tree#wildlife plant#moths#shade garden#cover plant#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#playground#erosion control#small mammals#food source#fast growing#samara#nighttime garden#children's garden#red fruits#red stems#nesting sites#multitrunked#larval host plant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#woodlands#moth larva#imperial moth
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    glabrum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is primarily grown for its ornamental red fruit and has interesting red twigs and stand out yellow-to-red fall color. Some Native American tribes are known to have used the stems of this plant to make drying racks, drum hoops, snowshoe frames, spears, pegs, toys, and masks. The bark was also used in poison antidotes.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western North America
    Distribution:
    Southeastern Alaska, British Columbia and western Alberta, east to western Nebraska, and south through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Colorado to California, Arizona and New Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Acer support Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Food and shelter to wildlife
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Pieces Used in Games
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    erosion
    Dimensions:
    Height: 12 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-trunked
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Red winged samaras. This plant has green, insignificant flowers in April, which are pollinated by insects and followed by showy red winged samaras in late summer. Plant is dioecious.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Green, insignificant flowers in April, which are pollinated by insects and followed by showy red winged samaras in late summer. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required).
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Lobed leaves green most of the year turn yellow to brick red in the fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Smooth, browish gray bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are smooth and red in winter.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Erosion
    Insect Pests