The Red Maple has simple, 3- to 5-lobed leaves arranged opposite from each other on the stem. The sinuses between lobes are comparatively shallow among maples, but this can vary. The leaves are shallowly serrated. The leaf base may range from rounded to indented.
Twig and Bud Identification
The twig is dark brown and smooth, with pale lenticels (pores). The twig lightens in color as it ages, developing ringed notches. The terminal buds are paired and have multiple scales.
The bark is variable colors of gray, generally smooth but developing small scales with age.
The Red Maple fruit is a double samara (papery winged seed coat), which mature from red-pink to red-brown. They fall from the tree in late spring to early summer.
The flowers of the Red Maple are small, bright red, and located in small clusters close to the branch. The petals may not always be particularly prominent. The Red Maple can be monoecious, dioecious, or even bisexual, so not all flowering systems may be the same between individual trees.
‘Frank Jr.’ Identification
The ‘Frank Jr.’ cultivar has a pyramidal shape and grows slightly smaller than wild Red Maples, reaching only 50′ at the highest.