Looking to identify a maple

Discussion in 'Maples' started by pmurphy, Dec 22, 2022.

  1. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor 10 Years

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    I received a couple of "dead" potted plants from someone's backyard a couple of years ago. Each pot had several withered plants and shrubs as they had been sitting without water for about 4 months during the summer. I was able to revive and identify most of them and there was one little "stick" that turned out to be a maple but it did not come back healthy until this past spring.
    And now that I have time I'm trying to identify it.
    Currently this little tree is about 50 - 60cm tall. Attached photos were taken in November of this year showing the fall colors.

    Assistance in putting a name to it would be greatly appreciated.

    IMG_9424.JPG IMG_9425.JPG
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Acer saccharinum Silver maple is my thinking P. Or a hybrid of ...
     
  3. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks for the start, I'll have to take a close look at the underside of the leaves come spring but I don't recall them being silver. I didn't measure the leaves but my guess is they only about 10-12cm long. And I'm not sure this it would be a large tree because the pots were apparent prepared and purchased at a nursery as mixed pots (shrubs and annuals), but as it turned out one of the other pots contained a rose, another had an azalea and the fourth turned out to be a mock orange so who knows what was potted up....
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Or a volunteer....
     
  5. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor 10 Years

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    Possible as well.
    I'll see what it looks like and get some better photos in spring.

    Thanks.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Looks like Acer platanoides (Norway Maple) to me. Not A. saccharinum, as that has serrated leaf margins, rather than just isolated teeth as here. A close-up of the buds would help confirm.
     
  7. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor 10 Years

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    Once it warms up and the snow melts - we currently have about 30cm of snow in the back yard and it has only warmed up to -10C(it was -12.6 last night) - I'll be able to get outside and see what sort of leaf buds it has.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Norway and sugar also differ in that the mature leaf stalks of the former emit milky sap when broken.
     
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  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Eeew! Knew there was a big arctic outbreak in North America, but thought it had stayed east of the mountains and not hit the west coast . . . hope you get a thaw soon! No hurry for the pics though.
     
  10. grimmiges

    grimmiges New Member

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    I concur, it looks very much like our very common Spitzahorn, as we call the Norway Maple in German, because of it's very pointed tips. I may be wrong, but I don't think there's any other species with a leaf like that (rumour has it, it's the maple the Canadians accidently took for their flag).

    The autumn colour fits, too. You can also check the lower side of the leaves, they are typically glabrous (not wooly but naked).
     
  11. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor 10 Years

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    Actually the sugar maple is the leaf depicted on our national flag (which is why the flag is red) and the sugar maple is native to Canada, where it can be found growing from Manitoba to Nova Scotia. The confusion you are referring to comes from our currency because the leaf that appears on the flag is not the same image that is printed on our bills but rather a more modern, stylized maple leaf.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) is superficially similar leaf shape, but different in multiple other aspects, including (usually, but not invariably), orange/red autumn colour. A close-up of the bud will easily distinguish it.

    If I remember rightly, the maple leaf on the Canadian flag was deliberately designed not to match any single species, so it wouldn't favour the maple(s) native to any particular province. It has to be equally acceptable in BC (Acer macrophyllum), Alberta (A. glabrum), Ontario (A. saccharum), Newfoundland & Labrador (A. spicatum), etc., etc. That as a result it also superficially resembles A. platanoides is then inevitable I guess.
     
  13. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    The Government of Canada website just refers to our flag symbol as "the stylized 11-point maple leaf".
    Here's an old posting: Globe and Mail article: Mistaken identi-tree | UBC Botanical Garden Forums
     
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  14. grimmiges

    grimmiges New Member

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    That would make sense. The list is (by the way) also a collection of potentially primitive leaf morphologies of maples through time. And A. macrophyllum, A. glabrum and A. spicatum are the tips of most ancient lineages (their plastomes are very unique). Canada is a very special place for maples. And always has been since the time of the last dinosaurs.

    If I remember correctly another distinguishing feature between the most-pointed A. saccharum and A. platanoides (phylogenetic fun-fact: they belong to two very different evolutionary lineages) is the straightness of the lobes and teeth. The sides are usually a bit rounded (smoothly concave or convex) or undulated in the sugar maples, while appearing to be drawn with a rule in case of A. platanoides.

    In addition to the buds, if it'll fruit, there's another clue: Species of sect. Platanoidea have very flat samaras, approaching 180° when matured, and typically one side is underdeveloped, in contrast to those of sect. Acer (seed being like a little ball in the samara, and the two wings at an acute angle or near-parallel).
     

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