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Red Maple

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Red maple (Acer rubrum)

The red maple is also known as scarlet maple and swamp maple. It is easily recognized in the fall when the red leaves stand out along the forest edges along roads and along riverbanks. Of all species along the East Coast, the red maple has the most widespread distribution. The dramatic fall color of red can be seen from an airplane.

Pioneers used the tannin extracted from the tree to make dyes and ink. The dyes were used for linens, hats, and shoes. Sugar may also be drawn from the red maple in very small quantities unlike the sugar maple, which is well known for the production of maple syrup.

The wood of red maple is soft and may be used for smaller materials such as clothes hangers, clothespins, box veneer, interior finish, and some types of furniture.

The range of this member of the Aceraceae family is throughout the entire East Coast from extreme southeastern regions of Manitoba east to Newfoundland, south to southern Florida and west to eastern Texas. It occurs at altitudes up to 6,000'. Red maple is planted widely throughout the United States as a street and yard tree.