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Acer spicatum facts for kids

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Mountain maple
NAS-047 Acer spicatum.png
1819 illustration
Conservation status
Scientific classification
A. spicatum
Binomial name
Acer spicatum
Lam. 1786
Acer spicatum range map 1.png
Generalized natural range

Acer spicatum (mountain maple), also known as dwarf maple, moose maple, and white maple, is a species of maple native to northeastern North America from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland, and south to Pennsylvania. It also grows at high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.


Acer spicatum is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3–8 m (10–25 ft) tall, forming a spreading crown with a short trunk and slender branches. The leaves are opposite and simple, 6–10 cm (2 14–4 in) long and wide, with 3 or 5 shallow broad lobes. They are coarsely and irregularly toothed with a light green hairless surface and a finely hairy underside. The leaves turn brilliant yellow to red in autumn, and are on slender stalks usually longer than the blade. The bark is thin, dull gray-brown, and smooth at first but becoming slightly scaly. The fruit is a paired reddish samara, 2–3 cm (341 14 in) long, maturing in late summer to early autumn.

Distribution and ecology

The tree lives in moist woods in rich, well-drained soils on rocky hillsides and along streams. It also grows on ravines, cliff faces, and forested bogs. It colonizes the understory of hardwood forests.

Mammals such as moose, deer, beavers, and rabbits browse the bark; ruffed grouse eat the buds.


The sap is a source of sugar and can be boiled to make maple syrup. The bark contains tannins, which are used in tanning leather. Indigenous peoples infused the piths of young twigs to produce treatments for eye irritation and made poultices from boiled root chips. It is also said to be used to relieve stress in humans.

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