Striped Maple : Overview

Striped Maple

A striped maple with yellow fall foliage. (Flickr user BlueRidgeKitties, 2010).

By Gina Cassara

The striped maple, or Acer pensylvanicum, is a modest member of the maple family (Aceraceae). Like its relatives it is deciduous, bears a winged samara fruit, and sports the familiar three-loped leaf shape typical of the maple family. It can live to be 100 years old but is small and quite slow-growing in comparison to other maples. In fact, unlike the towering silver maple or the thick-trunked and spreading sugar maple, the striped maple is typically a diminutive tree found in the understory. You could easily walk right by without even noticing it! However, it is easily identifiable once you know what to look for, and its distinctive characteristics have given rise to a plethora of common names, including snakebark maple, moosewood, goosefoot maple, and whistlewood. Explained in this profile are the reasons behind all of these names — see if you can find them all!