Acer platanoides ~ Norway Maple

Common Name: Norway mapleimage
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 40′ – 50′ feet
Spread: 30′ – 50′ feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Yellow-green in color
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Form: Columnar to Oval
Suggested Use: Do not plant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution

‘Columnare’

Dark green

Yellow

Columnar

50′ x 20′

‘Crimson Sentry’

Purple

Insignificant

Columnar

35′ x 25′

‘Deborah’

Red in spring, bronze green in summer

Bronze, yellow

Oval

60′ x 60′

Emerald Lustre

Dark glossy green

Yellow

Round, oval

60′ x 60′

‘Crimson King’

Purple

Insignificant

Oval

35′ x 35′

Princeton Gold

Golden yellow

Yellow

Oval

45′ x 40′

‘Royal Red’

Maroon, red, glossy

Insignificant

Oval

40′ x 25′

‘Variegatum’

Green with white edge

Yellow

Rounded

60′ x 50′

imageJohn Bartram of Philadelphia was the first to bring the Norway maple from England to the U.S. in 1756 and soon it began appearing along streets and in parks.

As its name implies, this maple is native to Norway and much of Europe into western Asia. It was introduced to the U.S. in colonial times as an urban street tree and is still widely used for that purpose today. Many years of horticultural selection has produced cultivars that vary widely in form, from columnar to densely global and different leaf colors varying from red maroons, bright yellow and even variegated. Many times the purple leaved varieties are miss identified as ‘red maples’. An easy way to identify Norway maples would be to break a leaf off and if the sap is milky, its a Norway. Other maples will have clear sap.

Norway maples are found in woodlands near cities, especially in the northeastern U.S., they have also escaped cultivation and invaded many forests, fields and other natural habitats. Norway Maple can be monoecious or dioecious, meaning it produces male (staminate) flowers and female (pistillate) flowers on either the same or separate trees. Either way, they produce a large quantity of seeds that germinate rapidly. The species can be locally dominant in forest stands, create dense shade and displace native trees, shrubs and herbs. Its dense canopy also can shade out native wildflowers.

The normal leaf color is a dark green but cultivars have also been created with maroon, purple, and variegated foliage. Leaf variegation is not a stable trait and often tree canopies will display solid leaves along with variegated. Few Norway Maples provide meaningful fall color, a few yellows at most and often persisting on the tree until late season frosts before turning a drab olive brown.image

Norway maples tend to have very shallow roots and sometimes growing grass or any other ornamental plant under it is impossible. This also is one dirty tree… dropping trash during every season; starting with flower buds, two crops of seeds, twigs, branches, and copious amounts of leaves. There are many alternatives to Norway maples.

Red maple – Acer rubrum

Sugar maple – Acer saccharum

Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis

Basswood – Tilia americana

Northern red oak – Quercus rubra

Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis

Β© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

17 thoughts on “Acer platanoides ~ Norway Maple

  1. Interesting. I’m surprised that a tree from the frozen north survives in your summers?
    Also, I like the ‘suggested use’ – do not plant. πŸ™‚
    As I type this, we have a magnificent thunderstorm – I’ve unplugged my laptop in case I get fried by the many lightning strikes directly overhead. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are still in the midst of picking up all the fallen branches from the winter storms and the next area to work on is under our Crimson King. Thanks for sharing the information on the maples and I plan on using your great phrase, “dirty tree,” quite often as I work on the branches.

    Liked by 1 person

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