Acer platanoides

Acer platanoides, also known as Norway maple, is a species of maple native to eastern and central Europe and western Asia, from France east to Russia, north to southern Scandinavia and southeast to northern Iran.[2][3][4] It was brought to North America in the mid-1700s as a shade tree.[5] It is a member of the soapberry and lychee family.

Norway maple
Norway maple leaves
Scientific classification
A. platanoides
Binomial name
Acer platanoides
Acer platanoides range
Distribution map (native habitat)


Acer platanoides is a deciduous tree, growing to 20–30 m (65–100 ft) tall with a trunk up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter, and a broad, rounded crown. The bark is grey-brown and shallowly grooved. Unlike many other maples, mature trees do not tend to develop a shaggy bark. The shoots are green at first, soon becoming pale brown. The winter buds are shiny red-brown.

The leaves are opposite, palmately lobed with five lobes, 7–14 cm (2 345 12 in) long and 8–20 cm or 3 147 34 in (rarely 25 cm or 9 34 in) across; the lobes each bear one to three side teeth, and an otherwise smooth margin. The leaf petiole is 8–20 cm (3 147 34 in) long, and secretes a milky juice when broken. The autumn colour is usually yellow, occasionally orange-red.[6][7][8]

Acer platanoides flower kz
Flower, close-up

The flowers are in corymbs of 15–30 together, yellow to yellow-green with five sepals and five petals 3–4 mm (0–14 in) long; flowering occurs in early spring before the new leaves emerge. The fruit is a double samara with two winged seeds. the seeds are disc-shaped, strongly flattened, 10–15 mm (3858 in) across and 3 mm (18 in) thick. The wings are 3–5 cm (1 14–2 in) long, widely spread, approaching a 180° angle. It typically produces a large quantity of viable seeds.

Under ideal conditions in its native range, Norway maple may live up to 250 years, but often has a much shorter life expectancy; in North America, for example, sometimes only 60 years. Especially when used on streets, it can have insufficient space for its root network and is prone to the roots wrapping around themselves, girdling and killing the tree. In addition, their roots tend to be quite shallow and thereby they easily out-compete nearby plants for nutrient uptake.[9] Norway maples often cause significant damage and cleanup costs for municipalities and homeowners when branches break off in storms as it does not have strong wood.[10][11]

Classification and identification

Ahorn bluehend2
Tree in flower
Norway maple bark

The Norway maple is a member (and is the type species) of the section Platanoidea Pax, characterised by flattened, disc-shaped seeds and the shoots and leaves containing milky sap. Other related species in this section include Acer campestre (field maple), Acer cappadocicum (Cappadocian maple), Acer lobelii (Lobel's maple), and Acer truncatum (Shandong maple). From the field maple, the Norway maple is distinguished by its larger leaves with pointed, not blunt, lobes, and from the other species by the presence of one or more teeth on all of the lobes.[10][11]

It is also frequently confused with the more distantly related Acer saccharum (sugar maple). The sugar maple is easy to differentiate by clear sap in the petiole (leaf stem); Norway maple petioles have white sap. The tips of the points on Norway maple leaves reduce to a fine "hair", while the tips of the points on sugar maple leaves are, on close inspection, rounded. On mature trees, sugar maple bark is more shaggy, while Norway maple bark has small, often criss-crossing grooves. While the shape and angle of leaf lobes vary somewhat within all maple species, the leaf lobes of Norway maple tend to have a more triangular shape, in contrast to the more squarish lobes often seen on sugar maples.

The fruits of Norway maple are paired samaras with widely diverging wings,[12]:372 distinguishing them from those of sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus which are at 90 degrees to each other.[12] Norway maple seeds are flattened, while those of sugar maple are globose. The sugar maple usually has a brighter orange autumn color, where the Norway maple is usually yellow, although some of the red-leaved cultivars appear more orange.

The tree tends to grow out leaves earlier than most maples and holds its leaves somewhat longer in autumn. Seeds begin to be forming in mid-spring and ripen over the course of the summer months, finally dropping in the fall. Unlike some other maples that wait for the soil to warm up, A. platanoides seeds require only three months of exposure to temperatures lower than 4 °C (40 °F) and will sprout in early spring. The heavy seed crop and high germination rate contributes to its invasiveness in North America, where it forms dense monotypic stands that choke out native vegetation. It is one of the few introduced species that can successfully invade and colonize a virgin forest. By comparison, in its native range, Norway maple is rarely a dominant species and instead occurs mostly as a scattered understory tree.[10][11]

Cultivation and uses

Acer platanoides 1aJPG
Foliage and fruit; the fruit are an important characteristic for identification of this species

The wood is hard, yellowish-white to pale reddish, with the heartwood not distinct; it is used for furniture and turnery.[13] Norway maple sits ambiguously between hard and soft maple with a Janka hardness of 1,010 lbf or 4,500 N. The wood is rated as non-durable to perishable in regard to decay resistance.[14] In Europe, it is used for furniture, flooring and musical instruments.

Norway maple has been widely taken into cultivation in other areas, including western Europe northwest of its native range. It grows north of the Arctic Circle at Tromsø, Norway. In North America, it is planted as a street and shade tree as far north as Anchorage, Alaska.[15] It is most recommended in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 7 but will grow in warmer zones (at least up to Zone 10) where summer heat is moderate, as along the Pacific coast south to the Los Angeles basin.[16] During the 1950s–60s it became popular as a street tree due to the large-scale loss of American elms from Dutch elm disease.

It is favored due to its tall trunk and tolerance of poor, compacted soils and urban pollution, conditions in which sugar maple has difficulty. It has become a popular species for bonsai in Europe and is used for medium to large bonsai sizes and a multitude of styles.[17] Norway maples are not typically cultivated for maple syrup production due to the lower sugar content of the sap compared to sugar maple.[18]


Many cultivars have been selected for distinctive leaf shapes or colorations, such as the dark purple of 'Crimson King' and 'Schwedleri', the variegated leaves of 'Drummondii', the light green of 'Emerald Queen', and the deeply divided, feathery leaves of 'Dissectum' and 'Lorbergii'. The purple-foliage cultivars have orange to red autumn colour. 'Columnare' is selected for its narrow upright growth.[11][19] The cultivars 'Crimson King'[20] and 'Princeton Gold'[21] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

As an invasive species in North America

The Norway maple was introduced to northeastern North America between 1750 and 1760 as an ornamental shade tree. It was brought to the Pacific Northwest in the 1870s.[5] The roots of Norway maples grow very close to the ground surface, starving other plants of moisture. For example, lawn grass (and even weeds) will usually not grow well beneath a Norway maple, but English Ivy, with its minimal rooting needs, may thrive. In addition, the dense canopy of Norway maples can inhibit understory growth.[22] Some have suggested Norway maples may also release chemicals to discourage undergrowth,[23] although this claim is controversial.[22] A. platanoides has been shown to inhibit the growth of native saplings as a canopy tree or as a sapling.[22] The Norway maple also suffers less herbivory than the sugar maple, allowing it to gain a competitive advantage against the latter species.[24] As a result of these characteristics, it is considered invasive in some states,[25] and has been banned for sale in New Hampshire[26] and Massachusetts.[27] The State of New York has classified it as an invasive plant species.[28] Despite these steps, the species is still available and widely used for urban plantings in many areas.

Acer platanoides fruit kz

Fruit (samara): note the flat seed capsule and the angle of the "wings"

2014-10-30 10 39 54 Norway Maple foliage during autumn on Durham Avenue in Ewing, New Jersey

Typical yellow fall foliage

2014-10-30 09 32 43 Norway Maple foliage during autumn in Ewing, New Jersey

Atypical orange-red fall colour

Acer Platanoides 'schwedleri' leaf

Purple leaves of cultivar 'Schwedleri'

Acer platanoides twig and buds

Acer platanoides twig and buds.

Natural enemies

The larvae of a number of species of Lepidoptera feed on Norway maple foliage. Ectoedemia sericopeza, the Norway maple seedminer, is a moth of the family Nepticulidae. The larvae emerge from eggs laid on the samara and tunnel to the seeds. Norway maple is generally free of serious diseases, though can be attacked by the powdery mildew Uncinula bicornis, and verticillium wilt disease caused by Verticillium spp.[29] "Tar spots" caused by Rhytisma acerinum infection are common but largely harmless.[30] Aceria pseudoplatani is a acarine mite that causes a 'felt gall' that is found on the underside of leaves of both sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) and Norway maple.[31]


  1. ^ Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website Version 9, June 2008 [and more or less continuously updated since].
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ Flora Europaea: Acer platanoides distribution
  4. ^ Den virtuella floran: Acer platanoides distribution
  5. ^ a b Love, R (2003). "Introduced Species Summary Project: Norway maple (Acer platanoides)". Columbia University. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Introduced Species Summary Project: Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Acer platanoides". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Acer platanoides". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  9. ^ "Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)". Feb 12, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Rushforth, K (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-220013-4.
  11. ^ a b c d Mitchell, AF (1974). A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-212035-7.
  12. ^ a b Stace, C.A. (2010). New flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5.
  13. ^ Vedel, H.; Lange, J. (1960). Trees and bushes in wood and hedgerow. London, U.K.: Metheun & Co. Ltd. ISBN 978-0-416-61780-1.
  14. ^ "Differences Between Hard Maple and Soft Maple, The Wood Database".
  15. ^ "Trees Near Their Limits – Alaska".
  16. ^ History and Range of Norway Maple
  17. ^ D'Cruz, Mark. "Ma-Ke Bonsai Care Guide for Acer platanoides". Ma-Ke Bonsai. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  18. ^ "North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual". The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  19. ^ Huxley, A. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-47494-5.
  20. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Acer platanoides 'Crimson King'". Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Acer platanoides Princeton Gold = 'Prigo' (PBR)". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  22. ^ a b c Shannon L. Galbraith-Kent; Steven N. Handel (2008). "Invasive Acer platanoides inhibits native sapling growth in forest understorey communities". Journal of Ecology. 96 (2): 293–302. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01337.x.
  23. ^ "Controlling Invasive Plants" (PDF).
  24. ^ C. L. Cincotta; J. M. Adams; C. Holzapfel (2009). "Testing the enemy release hypothesis: a comparison of foliar insect herbivory of the exotic Norway maple (Acer platanoides L.) and the native sugar maple (A. saccharum L.)" (PDF). Biological Invasions. 11 (2): 379–388. doi:10.1007/s10530-008-9255-9.
  25. ^ Swearingen, J.; Reshetiloff, K.; Slattery, B.; Zwicker, S. (2002). "Norway Maple". Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
  26. ^ "Invasive Species". New Hampshire Dept. of Agriculture. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Massachusetts Prohibited Plant List". 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Interim List of Invasive Plant Species in New York State". Advisory Invasive Plant List. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  29. ^ Phillips, D. H., & Burdekin, D. A. (1992). Diseases of Forest and Ornamental Trees. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-49493-8.
  30. ^ Hudler, George (1998). Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 248.
  31. ^ Plant Galls Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved : 2013-07-10

Further reading

  • Wyckoff, Peter H., and Sara L. Webb. "Understory influence of the invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides)." Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club (1996): 197–205

External links

Acer lobelii

Acer lobelii (Lobel's maple) is a rare maple tree native to southern Italy and the western Balkans. Synonyms include Acer platanoides subsp. lobelii and Acer cappadocicum Gled. subsp. lobelii (Ten.) De Jong.

Acer platanoides 'Pendulum'

Acer platanoides 'Pendulum', or weeping Norway maple, is a weeping tree and a cultivar of Acer platanoides, the Norway maple. It was first found by Niemetz at Timişoara, Romania in 1901. No trees are known to survive of this cultivar.

Aceria pseudoplatani

Aceria pseudoplatani causes the Sycamore Felt Gall that is found on the leaves of Sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) or Norway Maple (Acer platanoides), and is caused by an acarine gall-mite.

Altenia scriptella

Altenia scriptella is a moth of the family Gelechiidae. It is found from most of Europe, to the Volga region, Turkey and the Caucasus.

The wingspan is 10–15 mm. Adults are on wing from June to July in one generation per year.The larvae feed on Acer campestris, Acer pseudoplatanus and Acer platanoides. They in a folded leaf of their host plant. The species overwinters in the pupal stage.

Arboretum du Mas du Rouquet

The Arboretum du Mas du Rouquet is an arboretum located in Pégairolles-de-l'Escalette, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. It contains trees including Abies alba, Acer platanoides, Buxus sempervirens, Carpinus betulus, Cedrus atlantica, Fraxinus excelsior, Pinus laricio, Pinus nigra austriaca, Pinus sylvestris, Populus alba, and Ulmus campestris.

Bosnian maple

Bosnian maple or Yugoslavian maple is a type of Acer platanoides, a European mountain maple indigenous to former Yugoslavia. It was a very high grade of maple, very light and very strong, according to some the best wood in the world for making violins, as it had the finest resonance. The classic Italian violin makers probably used wood from Tyrol, or northern Yugoslavia, or Switzerland. The maple has mostly been used for the back plates. It was used by the Gagliano family of luthiers. Portuguese violin maker António Capela uses the Yugoslavian spruce and maple.

Bucculatrix thoracella

Bucculatrix thoracella is a moth of the family Bucculatricidae. It is found in most of Europe (except Ireland, the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkan Peninsula) and Japan (the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu).

The wingspan is 6–8 mm. Adults are on wing in June and sometimes again in August.

The larvae feed on Acer campestre, Acer platanoides, Acer pseudoplatanus, Aesculus hippocastanum, Alnus, Betula, Carpinus betulus, Fagus sylvatica, Sorbus, Tilia cordata, Tilia platyphyllos and Tilia tomentosa. They mine the leaves of their host plant. The mine consists of a small, full depth, hook-like corridor, usually in a vein axil, with a proportionally large larval chamber. The remainder of the mine is almost entirely filled with frass. The larvae soon leave their mine and start living free on the leaf.

Caloptilia onustella

Caloptilia onustella is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is known from most of Europe, east to the European part of Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as well as Morocco and Turkey.The larvae feed on Acer species, including Acer campestre, Acer monspessulanum, Acer platanoides and Acer pseudoplatanus. They mine the leaves of their host plant.

Ectoedemia sericopeza

Ectoedemia sericopeza, the Norway maple seedminer, is a moth of the family Nepticulidae. It is found from Fennoscandinavia to the Pyrenees, Italy, and Greece and from Great Britain to Russia and Ukraine. It is also present in North America, where it has been recorded from Delaware, Massachusetts, Ontario and Quebec.

The wingspan is 6–9 mm.

The larvae feed on Acer platanoides. The mine of first generation larvae consists of a short, superficial corridor, leading towards the seed, that is eaten out. Larvae of the second generation make a short mine in the bark of a petiole, and from there penetrates a bud that is consumed from the inside out.

Gelechia sestertiella

Gelechia sestertiella is a moth of the family Gelechiidae. It was described by Gottlieb August Wilhelm Herrich-Schäffer in 1854. It is found in Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, the Baltic region, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The wingspan is 13–14 mm. Adults have been recorded on wing from July to August.The larvae feed on Acer platanoides and Acer campestre.

Gypsonoma aceriana

Gypsonoma aceriana, the poplar shoot-borer, is a moth of the family Tortricidae. It is found from Europe to Russia, eastern Turkey and Iraq. It is also present in North Africa.

The wingspan is 13–15 mm. Adults are on wing in July. In Japan, there are two to three generations per year (in June, July and August).

The larvae feed on Populus nigra, Populus nigra subsp. italica, Populus alba, Populus balsamifera, Acer platanoides and Acer campestre. It is a common species in poplar plantations and nurseries. It has been recorded as a pest from Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Older larvae (third instars) bore into buds and below terminal shoots, which are usually destroyed, causing bushy growth of lateral shoots and making young trees unmarketable.

Leucoptera aceris

Leucoptera aceris is a moth in the family Lyonetiidae. It is found from Latvia to the Pyrenees, Alps and Bulgaria. It has also been recorded from Portugal.The larvae feed on Acer campestre, Acer monspessulanum and Acer platanoides. They mine the leaves of their host plant. The mine consists of a small, upper-surface blotch with frass concentrated in a central spot. Pupation takes place outside of the mine.

List of invasive plant species in New Jersey

Numerous plants have been introduced to the US state of New Jersey in the last four hundred years, and many of them have become invasive species that compete with the native plants and suppress their growth. Duke Farms identified 55 invasive species on its property and investigates methods to control them. Major invaders are:

Acer platanoides—Norway maple

Ailanthus altissima—Tree of heaven

Alliaria petiolata—Garlic mustard

Ampelopsis glandulosa—Porcelain berry

Aralia elata—Japanese angelica tree

Berberis thunbergii—Japanese barberry

Celastrus orbiculatus—Asian bittersweet

Centaurea maculosa—Spotted knapweed

Cirsium arvense—Creeping thistle

Dipsacus fullonum—Fuller's teasel

Elaeagnus umbellata—Autumn olive

Euonymus alatus—Burning bush

Lonicera japonica—Japanese honeysuckle

Lonicera maackii—Bush honeysuckle

Lythrum salicaria—Purple loosestrife

Microstegium vimineum—Japanese stiltgrass

Miscanthus sinensis—Chinese silvergrass

Ranunculus ficaria—Lesser celandine

Reynoutria japonica (syn. Fallopia japonica)—Japanese knotweed

Rhamnus cathartica—Common buckthorn

Robinia pseudoacacia—Black locust

Rosa multiflora—Multiflora rose

Rubus phoenicolasius—Wineberry

Parornix carpinella

Parornix carpinella is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is found from Sweden to the Pyrenees, Italy and Greece and from Great Britain to Russia.

The wingspan is 8–10 mm.The larvae feed on Acer platanoides, Acer pseudoplatanus, Carpinus betulus, Carpinus orientalis and Ostrya carpinifolia. They mine the leaves of their host plant. The mine consists of a small, angular, full depth blotch, often in a vein axle. The larva deposits some silk in the mine, but the quantity is so low that the mine remains practically flat. Later the larva leaves the mine and continues feeding within a down folded leaf margin or leaf tip.

Phyllonorycter joannisi

Phyllonorycter joannisi is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is found in most of Europe (except Ireland, the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkan Peninsula).

The wingspan is 6.5–9 mm. Adults are on wing in May and August in two generations.

The larvae feed on Acer platanoides. They mine the leaves of their host plant. They create a fairly large and rounded mine on the underside of a leaf, between two veins but not necessarily touching both and sometimes situated at the leaf edge. The lower epidermis appears smooth or has several small creases and becomes whitish. There may be several mines in a single leaf.

Phyllonorycter trinotella

Phyllonorycter trinotella is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is known from Québec in Canada and New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Ohio, Vermont and Michigan in the United States.The wingspan is about 5 mm.

The larvae feed on Acer species, including Acer platanoides, Acer rubrum and Acer saccharinum. They mine the leaves of their host plant. The mine has the form of a small tentiform, much wrinkled mine on the underside of the leaf.

Stigmella aceris

Stigmella aceris is a moth of the Nepticulidae family. It is found in Europe.

The wingspan is 3.7-4.7 mm. The moth flies from May to June and again in August depending on the location.

The larvae feed on Acer campestre, Acer ginnala, Acer platanoides and Acer tataricum. They mine the leaves of their host plant. The mine consists of a narrow corridor. Normally, the entire width of the corridor is filled with frass.

Stigmella ultima

Stigmella ultima is a moth of the Nepticulidae family. It is found in eastern Asia, including the Primorye region in Russia and in Japan. It is probably also present in north-eastern China.

The larvae feed on Acer mono and Acer platanoides.

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