Acer buergerianum. TRIDENT MAPLE. China, Japan
With its rather extreme form of maple leaf with three conspicuous veins and three lobes at the most, trident maple is readily identified. It is a rather small tree, suitable for restricted areas, but is also used as a street tree at Stanford. There is one on your left as you go into Wilbur Hall at the main entrance on Escondido Road, and considerable numbers are on Alvarado Row near San Francisco Court. They line Pearce Mitchell Place from Mayfield Avenue to unit 17.
Most maple leaves have five structural ribs spanned by a flimsy membrane to take care of respiration and photosynthesis; the winter leaf drop then results in a minimum of waste. The basswoods, liquidambars, maples, planes, tulip trees, and other North American families use the five-rib design, but it is an interesting question, discussed under Liquidambar styraciflua, why Florida and Texas have maintained a strategy adapted to northern Canada.
Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
Other campus maples: Acer buergeranum | Acer campestre | Acer circinatum | Acer ginnala | Acer griseum | Acer macrophyllum | Acer negundo | Acer notes | Acer palmatum | Acer platanoides | Acer pseudoplatanus | Acer rubrum | Acer saccharinum
Illustrations (links open new windows): galleryAdditions/Revisions:
Name derivation, genus | speciesRelated material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library