Sapindaceae (soapberry family) Acer

Acer platanoides Norway maple

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

Native to a vast region extending from southern Norway to the Pyrenees and from the Caucasus to the Urals, Norway maple has been introduced all across the United States. The five-lobed leaves are about 6 inches across and are placed oppositely on stalks up to 5 inches long. The sap in the leaf stalks is milky and sweet. Before the leaves appear, clusters of small yellowish green flowers make a display. Keys about 2 inches across quickly develop. A brilliant yellow display occurs in late autumn. Pliny tells us that the waxed tablets used in Roman times as note pads were of maple wood. Two trees south of Cantor Center and one near the southwest corner of the Main Quad are possibly ‘Schwedleri’ and/or ‘Reitenbachii’. My friend Margot Pratt shows kids how to wear a samara like spectacles, or break one in half, remove the seed, and stick it on like a rhino.

Name derivation: Acer – Latin for maple; platanoides – like Platanus.

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).