Red Maple - Acer rubrum

This well-known maple species has strong and uniform wood that is commonly used to make furniture, crates, and flooring.  The leaves can be distinguished from sugar maple and silver maple by the sharp ‘V’ shape notches that separate the 3-5 lobes on each leaf.  Other similar maple leaves have a ‘U’ shaped notch. These leaves turn a stunning shade of scarlet in the fall.  Early colonists boiled the bark of the red maple to make a dark red ink.

Red Maple Leaf
The 3-5 palmate lobes of the Red Maple. Note the sharp ‘V’ notches.

Red Maple Bark
Red Maple is considered a “soft maple”, due to its softer, less dense wood compared to other hard maple species such as the sugar maple.  Photo by Brian Lacey.

Red Maple Bark
This young Red Maple's bark is becoming ridged.

Red Maple Leaves
Red Maple has spectacular red to yellow leaves in the fall.

Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Red Maples. 1995-1999.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Red Maples. 1995-1999.

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Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.  

Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp

Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.