Sapindaceae (soapberry family) Acer

Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple

Alaska to California
Acer macrophyllum at the Biomedical Innovations Building. Sairus Patel, 6 Sep 2023
Acer macrophyllum new leaves. John Rawlings, Mar 2005

The deeply cut leaves, about 6 inches across or more, have wiggly edges, a pale underside, and stalks 6 or so inches long. The samaras, which are red when young, have a furry body and the wings do not diverge much, in fact they may overlap.

Several young trees are scattered along the south edge of the Biomedical Innovations Building. Trees planted along the Serra Street drainage ditch near the Credit Union in 1991 didn’t last for more than a couple of decades. See bigleaf maple as a street tree in Palo Alto on Addison Avenue just northeast of Ramona Street; attractive clusters of samaras hang from their crowns in late spring. Bigleaf maple is a native tree of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and the foothills and creeks close to Stanford.

Acer macrophyllum leaf and samara. From: Howard E. McMinn & Evelyn Maino, An Illustrated Manual of Pacific Coast Trees

Name derivation: Acer – Latin for maple; macrophyllum – large-leaved.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Family name updated from Aceraceae to Sapindaceae (Oct 2017, SP). Biomedical Innovations and Addison locations added; other locations edited; removed Frost Amphitheater off Lasuen Street location, Atherton at Oak Grove and Middlefield Road locations (Sep 2023, SP).