February 17, 2019

Cherry Red? No, Maple Red

Red maple

Pineo Photo - Red maple

There’s little in this world quite as glorious as a maple in full color on an autumn day. At a distance, the color can seem to be a single shade, and it is not until you are close that you can see the paintbrush nature has wielded is splotched with many shades. Pictured is the red maple, Acer rubrum L., a native tree that is found throughout Maine. According to the centennial edition of the “Forest Trees of Maine” from the Maine Forest Service, the red maple is the most abundant of the maples in the state. Also called soft, white or swamp maple (there’s a clue there), it is found in swamps but can be found just about anywhere else. There’s a lot that’s red about this maple, except for its leaves in summer, which are the standard green, not that ornamental burgundy maple you might think of when you hear red maple. The tree gets its red moniker from the fact that its twigs are red and its flower clusters are bright red. One always knows spring is nigh when the buds start to swell, making the red maple look like it is sporting ruby-red berries on every branch tip.