Botanical Name: Acer platanoides
Common Name: Norway Maple
Origin: Europe/W. Asia
Notable Feature: Norway maple forms monotypic populations by displacing native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous understory plants. Once established, it creates a canopy of dense shade that prevents regeneration of native seedlings and wildflowers.
Habit: Medium-sized tree to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide, usually with a dense rounded and symmetrical crown.
Flower: This species is variously reported as having monoecious, dioecious, or perfect (bisexual) flowers. Regardless of orientation, flowers are borne in flat-topped, chartreuse green, upright clusters, 2 to 3 Inches across just before the leaves emerge in early April. Each cluster consists of 10 to 30 flowers with individual flowers less than 1/3” across, each with 5 petals.
Fruit: Widely divergent, 2-winged samaras, 1 ½ to 2 inches long and appearing in clusters; mature in late summer and persist into the winter. Samaras are borne in prolific numbers and seed readily.
Foliage: Dark green in summer turning to yellow in fall. Opposite, simple, ovate to oblong leaves are palmately-veined, 5 to 7 lobed, and 4 to 10” long. Exudes a milky white sap from the petiole when detached.
Bark: Grayish black with ridges and shallow furrows, giving a textural effect.
Interesting Fact: Botanist John Bartram of Philadelphia first introduced Norway Maple from England into the U.S. in 1756. It was later offered for sale in the new nation's first catalogue of American plants in 1783 (published by his son William Bartram). Quite popular, it was planted on farms and in towns for its shade, hardiness, and adaptability to adverse conditions.