Acer pensylvanicum

Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple, also known as moosewood, moose maple and goosefoot maple) is a small North American species of maple. The striped maple is a sequential hermaphrodite, meaning that it can change its sex throughout its lifetime.

Acer pensylvanicum
Moosewood leaves.jpg
Striped maple leaves, Cranberry Wilderness, West Virginia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Section: Acer sect. Macrantha
A. pensylvanicum
Binomial name
Acer pensylvanicum
L. 1753
Acer pensylvanicum range map.png
Natural range
  • Acer canadense Duhamel
  • Acer tricuspifolium Stokes


It is a small deciduous tree growing to 5–10 meters (16–33 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 20 cm (8 in) in diameter.[3]

The young bark is striped with green and white, and when a little older, brown.[3]

The leaves are broad and soft, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long and 6–12 cm (2.5–4.5 in) broad, with three shallow forward-pointing lobes.[3]

The fruit is a samara; the seeds are about 27 mm (1.1 in) long and 11 mm (0.43 in) broad, with a wing angle of 145° and a conspicuously veined pedicel.[3][4][5]

The bloom period for Acer pensylvanicum is around late spring. [6]

The spelling pensylvanicum is the one originally used by Linnaeus.


The natural range extends from Nova Scotia and the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, west to southern Ontario, Michigan, and Saskatchewan; south to northeastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and along the Appalachian Mountains as far south as northern Georgia.[7][8]


Striped maple growing at the edge of a forest with pine and hickory in the background (Zena, New York)

Moosewood is an understory tree of cool, moist forests, often preferring slopes. It is among the most shade-tolerant of deciduous trees, capable of germinating and persisting for years as a small understory shrub, then growing rapidly to its full height when a gap opens up. However, it does not grow high enough to become a canopy tree, and once the gap above it closes through succession, it responds by flowering and fruiting profusely, and to some degree spreading by vegetative reproduction.[9][10]

Mammals such as moose, deer, beavers, and rabbits eat the bark, particularly during the winter.[11]


  1. ^ "Acer pensylvanicum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019. 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2019.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ The Plant List, Acer pensylvanicum L.
  3. ^ a b c d Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
  4. ^ Carolina Nature
  5. ^ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas
  6. ^ "Conservation Plant Characteristics for ScientificName (CommonName) | USDA PLANTS". Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  7. ^ "Striped Maple". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  8. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  9. ^ Hibbs, D. E; B. C. Fischer (1979). "Sexual and Vegetative Reproduction of Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.)". Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 106 (3): 222–227. doi:10.2307/2484558. JSTOR 2484558.
  10. ^ Hibbs, D. E.; Wilson, B. F.; Fischer, B. C. (1980). "Habitat Requirements and Growth of Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.)". Ecology. 61 (3): 490–496. doi:10.2307/1937413. JSTOR 1937413.
  11. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 575. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.

External linksEdit