|Striped Maple leaves, Cranberry Wilderness, West Virginia|
Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple, also known as moosewood and moose maple) is a species of maple native to northern and montane forests in eastern North America from southern Ontario east to Nova Scotia and south to Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Jersey, and also at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains south to northern Georgia.
It is a small deciduous tree growing to 5–10 m tall, with a trunk up to 20 cm diameter. The young bark is striped with green and white, and when a little older, brown. The leaves are broad and soft, 8–15 cm long and 6–12 cm broad, with three shallow forward-pointing lobes. The fruit is a samara; the seeds are about 27 mm long and 11 mm broad, with a wing angle of 145° and a conspicuously veined pedicel.
The spelling pensylvanicum is the one originally used by Linnaeus.
Moosewood is an understory tree of cool, moist forests, often preferring slopes. It is among the most shade-tolerant of deciduous trees, capable of germinating and persisting for years as a small understory shrub, then growing rapidly to its full height when a gap opens up. However, it does not grow high enough to become a canopy tree, and once the gap above it closes through succession, it responds by flowering and fruiting profusely, and to some degree spreading by vegetative reproduction.
Cultivation and uses
The wood is soft and considered undesirable among maples. Although ecologically there is no reason to consider it a pest, foresters sometimes consider the striped maple to be unwanted, often cutting it or applying herbicides to kill it. Its shade tolerance makes it difficult to control, as it is often present in great numbers in the understory.
The sap causes a dermal contact dermatitis apparently milder than poison ivy.
The leaves are often used as make-shift toilet paper, prompting the nick-name "woodsman's friend"
Acer pensylvanicum is a species in the snakebark maple group, Acer section Macrantha. Other species in the section, such as Acer capillipes, Acer davidii, and Acer rufinerve, all native to eastern Asia, share similar leaf shape and similar vertically striped bark.
- Hibbs, D. E; B. C. Fischer (1979). "Sexual and Vegetative Reproduction of Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.)". Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 106: 222– 227.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Acer pensylvanicum.|
- Hibbs, D. E., Wilson, B. F., & Fischer, B. C. (1980). Habitat Requirements and Growth of Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.). Ecology 61 (3): 490-496
- NRCS: USDA Plants Profile and map: Acer pennsylvanicum
- Interactive Distribution Map of Acer pensylvanicum