Field Maple
(Acer campestre)
Simple
Lobed
Opposite

leaves

Winter twig
W inter twig

tree

flowers

branch with corky flanges
Branch with corky flanges

distribution map

The leaves are opposite, 4-7 cm long, with 3-5 lobes. They are hairless above but downy below, at least on the veins, and are on stalks 10-20 mm long. The leaf surface may have 'blisters' caused by a gall-forming mite.

ID check

Field maple is a small, deciduous tree which can be up to 25 m tall, but often reaches only 10-15 m in height or remains as a shrub when coppiced. It is found mainly on lime-rich soils in woodland, often as an understory to the oak, or in scrub and hedges. The bark is deeply fissured.

The 5-petalled flowers are small and green. They are produced in upright clusters of 10-20 after the leaves have developed. There are male and female flowers on the same tree. The males have 8 showy stamens, the females a forked style.

The fruits are 2-4 cm across and consist of a pair of 'propellers' each with a seed enclosed in a hairy swelling at the base.

The branches, smooth at first, develop corky flanges.

Facts

  • The leaves produce a honeydew on which hairstreak butterflies feed.

  • The leaves are the food for the caterpillars of maple prominent moths.

  • Maple wood is used for violin making, forming the back, sides and neck of an instrument.


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