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Big Leaf Maple Acer macrophyllum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser mak-roh-FYE-lum
Description

Bigleaf Maple is a tree found on the west coast of North America from Alaska, through British Columbia, and the west coast of the U.S.A.  It is native to moist to dry sites from British Columbia to southern California, most commonly being found in moist woods and along streams in the lower elevations of the coastal ranges and northern Sierra Nevada mountains. It is considered to be the most massive of the various species of maple found in North America. Trees in moist forested areas in western parts of the Pacific Northwest are often covered with mosses, lichens and ferns.

Easily grown in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, well-drained soils in cool summer temperatures reminiscent of those typically found in its native environment in the Pacific Northwest, but tolerates a variety of soil conditions ranging from moist to somewhat dry. Does not always perform well in the hot and humid summer conditions found in the southeastern U.S. where it is not recommended for planting south of USDA Zone 7.

Excellent shade tree for large landscapes and parks. Shallow spreading roots can crack sidewalks and driveways.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#large shade tree#wildlife plant#large leaves#squirrels#small mammals#chipmunks#milky sap#food source fall#fall color yellow
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#large shade tree#wildlife plant#large leaves#squirrels#small mammals#chipmunks#milky sap#food source fall#fall color yellow
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    macrophyllum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood is used to make furniture, cabinets and flooring.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western Canada and U.S.A.
    Wildlife Value:
    Deer and elk browse on saplings. Fruits provide food for small mammals and birds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 75 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 40 ft. 0 in. - 75 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Two-winged samara 1 1/2" long
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Chain-like racemes of green-yellow tiny flowers contrast against the darker green of the leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Deeply 5-lobed (occasionally 3-lobed) leaves (to 8-12” long and wide) emerge with burgundy tones in spring, mature to glossy medium to deep green, and finally turn yellow to yellow-orange in fall. Largest leaves of any maple. Petioles contain a milky sap.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Bark Description:
    Gray to red-brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Humidity