Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Striped Maple - Acer pensylvanicum   L.
Members of Sapindaceae:
Members of Acer with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Sapindales » Family Sapindaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Mountains, found in all such counties. Generally not found downstate, except barely into the upper Piedmont along the Blue Ridge Escarpment; disjunct (apparently) to Catawba County.

This is a Northern species found across eastern Canada south through NY, but southward mainly in the Appalachians to northern GA.
AbundanceFrequent to common, and widespread, across the middle elevations (2500 – 4500 feet), less numerous outside this zone.
HabitatThis species occurs in a wide array of montane hardwood forests, most frequent in rich stands such as Rich Cove Forests and into some Northern Hardwood Forests, but it can also occur in more mesic forests. It does not normally occur in dry or overly rocky sites, or in pine stands.
PhenologyFlowers in May, and fruits from June to September.
IdentificationThis is a familiar maple in the mountains, found often when visiting cove forests, for example. It is a small tree, mainly growing to 20-30 feet tall. It is easily identified by the vertical white stripes on the bark on the trunks, unlike other maples. Also, the leaves, almost always with three triangular lobes, are quite large, often about 5 inches broad. If the bark and leaves are not enough to identify it, the flowers and fruit are in long, dangling clusters several inches long. Red Maple (A. rubrum) and Mountain Maple (A. spicatum) also have three-lobed leaves, but the leaves average mainly 3-4 inches across, do not have striped bark, and the inflorescences are not in long drooping clusters.
Taxonomic CommentsNone. Unfortunately, Linnaeus made the initial description, leaving out the double-n in the name – obviously named after Pennsylvania – and thus we are stuck with the incorrect spelling of this and a number of other plants named for that state.

Other Common Name(s)Goosefoot Maple, Moosewood
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieRoadside bank, Blue Ridge Parkway, 16 June 2023. AveryPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieBlue Ridge Parkway, May 2015.
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