Maple Field Guide
Striped Maple, Acer pensylvanicum Marsh.

Striped maple, sometimes called moosewood or moose maple, is a small tree or large shrub identified by its conspicuous vertical white stripes on greenish-brown bark. It is commonly found growing as an understory tree in mixed hardwoods. This very slow growing maple may live to be 100 and is probably most important as a browse plant for wildlife, although the tree is sometimes planted as an ornamental in heavily shaded areas.

· Species Description: Silvics of North American Hardwoods

· Virginia Tech Dendrology Fact Sheet for Striped Maple

· University of Connecticut Plant Database

Striped maple is a small tree, rarely growing more than 45 feet tall. It has a short, forked trunk with a few arching branches which tends to form a broad, uneven crown which is flat-topped, to rounded. When trees are young, the bark is the most easily identified characteristic, because of its green bark with distinct white stripes.

Leaves are arranged oppositely along the twigs, and leaves have three lobes and small serrations along the leaf margin. Leaves are often large, sometimes reaching 6 inchesPhoto of Striped Maple bark.long and nearly as wide. The leaves are yellow-green above, a paler green below, and turn pale yellow in autumn.

Photo of Striped Maple leaves.

Striped maple flowers in May or June, and has clusters of bright yellow, bell-shaped drooping flowers. Fruit is a winged samara, ripening in autumn.

Distribution:Striped Maple distribution map.
Striped maple is widely distributed throughout the northeast US and adjacent Canada. It extends from Nova Scotia and the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, west to southern Ontario, Michigan and parts on Minnesota; south to Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and down the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.

Striped maple is generally a common, but minor component of the understory in a hardwood forests, as well as with spruce-fir and mixed wood forest types. It is tolerant of shade, but responds well to increased sunlight, and can out-compete other more desirable species following cutting of overstory trees.

Striped maple is not considered a commercial species for lumber and wood products, largely due to its small size. The tree is, however, an important wildlife food source. The leaves, buds and twigs and bark are eaten by a number of species, from rabbits to moose.

The Handbook of Vermont Trees, Burns & Otis, Bulletin 194, VT Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Vermont, 1916.

Coladonato, Milo. 1993. Acer pensylvanicum. In: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, (2003, March). Fire Effects Information System, [Online].

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