Norway Maple Acer platanoides


The Norway maple is more resistant to frost than the sycamore, and in Sweden is found as far north as latitude 64°, its distribution extending deep into areas with inland climate all the way to the Urals. It is a tree of lower and submontane elevations, and in Europe it is found at altitudes up to about 700 metres, growing mostly on rocky locations alongside streams, or on rocky slopes. It, too, is a large tree of fine proportions, reaching a height of 25 to 30 metres, but it never attains the diameter of the sycamore. It differs from the latter in having longitudinally fissured bark, reddish brown buds pressed close to the twig, and sharply-pointed, lobed leaves. When broken off, the stalk exudes a milky white sap. The bright yellow-green flowers appear in April together with the leaves, and are pollinated by insects. The double samaras have wide-spreading wings.

The Norway maple is shade-tolerant and needs rich, moist soil for good growth. The wood is very like that of the sycamore in appearance and is used for similar purposes, but is not as highly valued. The Norway maple has many ornamental forms, including purple and variegated leaved kinds. It tolerates the smoky atmosphere of cities, and is popularly planted in parks and city streets.

Leaves: Palmate, 5—7 lobed, 5—15 cm across, clefts between the leaves entire, lobes sharply pointed; stalk exudes milky liquid when broken off Flowers: Yellow, in erect panicles. Fruit: Double samara with widely spreading wings and flattened seeds.