W inter twig
Branch with corky flanges
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
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.
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.
smooth at first, develop corky flanges.
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.