Weed of the Week #13 – Red Maple (Acer rubrum: Aceraceae)

Welcome back to Weed of the Week. It’s been a long while since our last post but with our first blizzard of the year rolling in we thought it would be nice to dream of spring flowers. This week we are profiling a plant that most would not even consider a weed: Red maple. Red maples are a very popular ornamental tree because of their beautiful fall color. But it is their ability to grow in wet sites and in shade that allow this maple to be categorized as weedy. In some forest understories in the Northeast it is not uncommon to find 50% or more of the seedlings to be red maples.

Where It’s From:  Eastern North America
Where It’s Found:  Moist soils along stream banks; moist to drier woodlands
Where To Find It:  Parks and other unmaintained wooded areas

Uses: Ornamental and less often used for maple syrup and lumber
How to Identify:  Red maple is easy to identify because it is the most common maple found with 3 lobes (see photo below).

Final Note: Please check out our Weeds of NYC Mission on Project Noah. Join it and send in your weeds!

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