Acer spicatum (mountain maple) is a species of maple native to northeastern North America from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland, and south to Pennsylvania. It also grows at high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.
It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3–8 m (9-26 feet) tall, forming a spreading crown with a short trunk and slender branches. The leaves are opposite and simple, 6–10 cm (2-3 inches) long and wide, with 3 or 5 shallow broad lobes. They are coarsely and irregularly toothed with a light green hairless surface and a finely hairy underside. The leaves turn brilliant yellow to red in autumn, and are on slender stalks usually longer than the blade. The bark is thin, dull gray-brown, and smooth at first but becoming slightly scaly. The fruit is a paired reddish samara, 2–3 cm long, maturing in late summer to early autumn.
The tree lives in moist woods in rich, well-drained soils on rocky hillsides and along streams. It also grows on ravines, cliff faces, and forested bogs. During ecological succession, it colonizes the understory as pioneer species die.
The sap is a source of sugar and can be boiled to make maple syrup. The bark contains tannins, which are used in tanning leather. Indigenous peoples infused the piths of young twigs to produce treatments for eye irritation and made poultices from boiled root chips. It is also said to be used to relieve stress in humans.
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (November 2007)|
Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
- USDA Plants Profile: Acer spicatum
- Shrubs of the Northwoods
- Plants For A Future
- Acer spicatum images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu
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