Lot Location: 6.10
Mountain maple is a small, understory tree, 20-35 ft. tall, with multiple trunks and a mushroom-shaped habit. Its bark is maroon-purple to reddish-brown and its dark, yellowish-green foliage consistently turns mottled-orange to bright-red in the fall.
Mountain Maple is hardy and adapted to partial shade. The Latin species name, meaning spiked, refers to the long spikelike flower clusters. Rabbits, beavers, deer, and moose browse the bark, and ruffed grouse eat the buds. Some tribes boiled the young twigs with a pinch of alum and used the solution to soothe eyes irritated by smoke. (Kershaw)
Mountain maple is very important for preventing erosion on streambanks and steep slopes. When spreading branches become buried in leaf litter, they put down roots and send up new shoots. This process can produce impenetrable thickets on recently cleared land.