Quick facts

Common name: Norway maple

Scientific name: Acer platanoides

Family: Sapindaceae

Origin: non-native

Norway maple is a deciduous broadleaf tree and can grow to 25m. The bark is grey with fine ridges, and the twigs are slender and brown with tiny white spots.

Look out for: leaf stalks which ooze a milky sap when squeezed.

Identified in winter by: individual buds that are green and red.

What does Norway maple look like?

Norway maple leaves

Credit: AJT Photo / Alamy Stock Photo

Leaves

Palmate with five lobes with a few pointed teeth. They are dark green in colour, fading to yellow and occasionally red before falling in autumn.

Norway maple flowers

Credit: M & J Bloomfield / Alamy Stock Photo

Flowers

Bright green flowers grow in clusters of up to 30.

Norway maple leaves and winged seeds in autumn

Credit: Tim Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo

Fruits

Once pollinated by insects, female flowers develop into winged seeds, known as samaras, which fall in autumn and are spread by wind.

Not to be confused with:

Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). The angle of the seeds is wider in Norway maple.

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Did you know?

Norway maple is the most common tree in Toronto, Canada.

Where to find Norway maple

Norway maple was introduced to the UK from its native range of eastern and central Europe in the 17th century. It can be found in the UK as a street tree and is widely planted as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens due to its tall trunk and tolerance of compacted soils, shade and pollution.

Value to wildlife

A number of moth caterpillars feed on the leaves, and the flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and other insects. Birds and small mammals eat the seeds.

Did you know?

Like other maples, Norway maple can be tapped for its syrup.

Uses of Norway maple

Norway maple timber is similar to that of sycamore, being hard, strong and pale cream in colour. It may be used for a variety of situations, including furniture and turnery. However it is not often grown commercially due to problems associated with grey squirrels, which strip the bark.

Trees are also planted widely in towns and cities, thanks to their ornamental value and tolerance of shade and pollution.

Threats and conservation

Norway maple is affected by a variety of fungal diseases, including Verticillium wilt and honey fungus. It is vulnerable to bark stripping by grey squirrels, horse chestnut scale insect and horse chestnut leaf miner.