Mountain Maple, Acer spicatum
Mountain maple is a large shrub or small tree, and is also
sometimes known as low maple, moose maple, water maple, and
moosewood. It is a common understory plant and is often found
growing on moist, rocky , upper elevation sites.
Virginia Tech Dendrology Fact Sheet for Mountain Maple
Mountain maple is a small, bushy tree, reaching heights of
about 20 feet. It has a short trunk and rarely is more than
six inches in diameter. Small, upright branches may for a
rounded crown, but it is most frequently a straggling shrub.
Bark is thin, red-brown in color and smooth or slightly furrowed.
Twigs are reddish in color.
Leaves of the mountain maple are arranged opposite along
the twig, 4-5 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide, with three
lobes. Leaves are dark green above, and covered with whitish
Mountain maple is found throughout southeastern Canada and
the northeastern US, from Newfoundland to Saskatchewan, south
to Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, parts of Iowa,
and in the mountains to western North Carolina and eastern
The tree flowers in May or June, and flowers are small and
yellow-green in color, and occur along an erect stalk.
Mountain maple is an understory component in a number of northeastern
forest types. It is typically found scattered in the shrub
layer of climax forest types, such as sugar maple and spruce/fir.
It is most common in upper elevations.
In the north, mountain maple prefers rich, moist soils on
rocky slopes and flats, and along streams. Mountain maple
also grows well on drier, or well-drained acid soils.
Because of its small size and shrub-like characteristics,
mountain maple is not used for commercial wood products.
Mountain maple is commonly eaten by white-tailed deer, moose,
snowshoe hair, and beaver.
The Handbook of Vermont Trees, Burns & Otis, Bulletin
194, VT Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Vermont,
Sullivan, Janet. 1993. Acer spicatum. In: U.S. Department
of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Fire Sciences Laboratory (2003, March). Fire Effects Information