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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Red Maple

Acer rubrum
Family: Sapindaceae

Natural History

Autumn foliage of red maple | Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida

The red maple is also known as scarlet maple and swamp maple. It is easily recognized in the fall when the red leaves stand out along the forest edges along roads and along riverbanks. Of all species along the East Coast, the red maple has the most widespread distribution. The dramatic fall color of red can be seen from an airplane.

Pioneers used the tannin extracted from the tree to make dyes and ink. The dyes were used for linens, hats, and shoes. Sugar may also be drawn from the red maple in very small quantities unlike the sugar maple, which is well known for the production of maple syrup.

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