Acer spicatum

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Acer spicatum
1819 illustration[1]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Section: Acer sect. Spicata
A. spicatum
Binomial name
Acer spicatum
Lam. 1786
Generalized natural range
  • Acer dedyle Maxim.
  • Acer montanum W.T.Aiton
  • Acer parviflorum Ehrh.
  • Acer pumilum W.Bartram
  • Acer striatum Du Roi

Acer spicatum, the mountain maple, dwarf maple, moose maple, or white 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.[3]


Acer spicatum is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3–8 m (10–25 ft) tall, forming a spreading crown with a short trunk and slender branches. The leaves are opposite and simple, 6–10 cm (2+14–4 in) 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 (341+14 in) long, maturing in late summer to early autumn.[4]

Distribution and ecology[edit]

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. It colonizes the understory of hardwood forests.[5]

Mammals such as moose, deer, beavers, and rabbits browse the bark; ruffed grouse eat the buds.[5]


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.[6] The wood has been a popular choice for making musical instruments because of its high strength and durability. [7]


  1. ^ 1819 illustration. Source The North American sylva, or A description of the forest trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia ... to which is added a description of the most useful of the European forest trees ... Translated from the French of F. Andrew Michaux.
  2. ^ Crowley, D.; Rivers, M.C. (2018). "Acer spicatum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T193872A2287797. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T193872A2287797.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Acer spicatum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  4. ^ Rook, Earl J.S. (2002). "Moose Maple, Acer spicatum". Shrubs of the Northwoods. Archived from the original on November 27, 2005.
  5. ^ a b Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 581. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
  6. ^ "Acer spicatum". Plants for a Future.
  7. ^ "Fox Products - Fox Model 920".

External links[edit]

Media related to Acer spicatum at Wikimedia Commons