florida Early Detection Network


Norway maple


Acer platanoides L.


Maple family


Acer platanoides


Acer saccharum fruit for comparison


Flowers with young leaves

Old bark

Fall color with black fungal spot

Young bark




Synonyms: None


Botanical Glossary

Acer platanoides is a tree that usually grows to 12-18 m (40-60 ft.) in height, but can reach heights of 30 m (100 ft.). The bark of the tree is grayish and regularly and shallowly grooved. The palmately lobed leaves are opposite and have 5 to 7 sharply acuminate lobes (with large but few teeth). These leaves are 10-18 cm (4-7 in.) wide. The leaf petioles exude a white sap when broken. The leaves are usually green in color, but there are some cultivars that have dark red leaves. The fall color of the green leaves is yellow. The flowers appear in April and May and are yellow-green in color. They are borne in erect, pedunculate, rounded corymbs. Each flower is 5-6 mm (0.25 in.) wide. The pendulous fruit measure 4-5 cm (1.5-2 in.) in length. The fruit are samaras that are green when young and turn yellow, then brown, with age. The samara wings are divergent, reaching nearly 180 degree angle to each other. Page References Bailey 637, Fernald 986, Gleason & Cronquist 352, Holmgren 331, Magee & Ahles 719, Seymour 379. See reference section below for full citations.


Acer saccharum Marsh. (sugar maple)


Acer platanoides seeds are contained in winged samaras that are dispersed by wind.


Acer platanoides is native to continental Europe. In the U.S. it is found in the northeast from Maine to Minnesota and South to North Carolina and Tennessee. It is also found in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. It is found in all the states of New England.


The first documented introduction of Acer platanoides to the northeast was by John Bartram of Philadelphia, in 1756. Bartram later offered it for sale in his garden catalogue in 1762. Multiple sources of seed from Europe were available shortly after this initial introduction (Norwalk & Rowan, 1990).


Early Successional Forest, Forest Wetland, Late Successional Forest, Open Disturbed Area, Roadside, Vacant Lot, Yard or Garden. Acer platanoides has a wide distribution throughout New England, in part due to its extensive planting as a street and ornamental tree. It has naturalized to nearby woods such as urban woodlots, forest edges and fragmented forests, and from there has moved on to less disturbed habitats.


Acer platanoides is able to shade out native understory vegetation such as spring ephemerals, and eventually out-competes native tree species in the forest canopy. Thus, it can reduce native species diversity and change the structure of forest habitats.


The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group Invasive Plant Management Guide Comprehensive management information.


Documentation required: Specific photograph or mounted snippet of the inflorescence, fruit or leaves. Best time for documentation: Spring, summer, fall.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System Taxonomic information

The PLANTS Database General information and a map

University of Connecticut Plant Database General information and many photographs

Virginia Tech Dendrology Brief description and images


Anderson, R. 1999. Disturbance as a factor in the distribution of sugar maple and the invasion of Norway maple into a modified woodland. Rhodora 101(907): 264-273.

Bailey, L. H. 1949. Manual of Cultivated Plants. Macmillan, New York.

Britton, N. L. and A. Brown. 1970. An Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States vol. 2. Dover Publications Inc., New York.

Fire Conference 2000. Proceedings of the Invasive Species Workshop: The Role of Fire in the Control and Spread of Invasive Species. The First National Congress on Fire Ecology, Prevention, and Management. Tall Timbers Research Station, Miscellaneous Publication No. 11.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.

Gleason, H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Kloeppel, B.D., M.D. Abrams. 1995. Ecophysiological attributes of the native Acer saccharum and the exotic Acer platanoides in urban oak forests in Pennsylvania, USA. Tree Physiology 15(11): 739-746.

Magee, D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Martin, P. 1999. Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) invasion of a natural forest stand: understory consequences and regeneration pattern. Biological Invasions 1:215-223.

Nowak, D.J. and A.R. Rowan. 1990. History and Range of Norway Maple. Journal of Arboriculture 16: 291-296.

Seymour, F.C. 1969. The Flora of New England. Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., Tokyo, Japan

USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Webb, S.A. 1996. Acer platanoides. p.26. In Randall, J.M. and J. Marinelli. [eds.]. Invasive Plants: Weeds of the Global Garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Inc., New York.

Webb, S.L., M. Dwyer, C.K. Kaunzinger, P.H. Wyckoff. Sum 2000. The myth of the resilient forest: Case study of the invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Rhodora 102 (911): 332-354.

Webb, S.L., T.H. Pendergast, M.E. Dwyer. Apr-Jun 2001. Response of native and exotic maple seedling banks to removal of the exotic, invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128 (2): 141-149.

Wyckoff, P.H., S.L. Webb. Jul-Sep 1996. Understory influence of the invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 123 (3): 197-205.