Acer rubrum L.

Locations ofAcer rubrum L. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Acer rubrum L.
Common Name
Red Maple
Acer rubrum L. var. rubrum; Acer rubrum L. var. trilobum Torrey & Gray ex K. Koch
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Acer rubrum L.
The recognition of infraspecific taxa in Acer rubrum is controversial; until more convincing systematic studies are done, we follow Flora of Virginia in recognizing only a broad species concept that accepts considerable variation in leaf and samara architecture and pubescence. Of the two vars. attributed to Virginia by FSUS, var. trilobum is supposed to be most abundant in wetlands of the Coastal Plain, while var. rubrum is the more abundant inland and upland taxon. Var. trilobum has leaves mostly 3-lobed and rounded to subcordate at base, while var. rubrum has leaves mostly 5-lobed and cordate at the base. However, there are exceptions and intermediates, both morphological and geographical that muddy the waters.
Ubiquitous in an extraordinary range of wet to xeric forest and woodland habitats, ranging from sea-level to the highest elevations; often dominant in swamps, floodplains, depression wetlands, and successional forests. This species has also become dominant in the understory of various upland oak and oak-hickory forests due to the widespread cessation of fires and other disturbances that regenerate oaks. Common throughout.
Native Status

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