silver maple
Acer saccharinum

Secondary Names:

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

Silver maple is a fast-growing landscape tree that can reach a height of 70 feet or more and a trunk diameter of up to 2 feet. It is considered somewhat undesirable as a shade tree because of its brittleness and susceptibility to insects, disease, heat, and alkaline soils.

Range/Site Description:

In its native range, silver maple is found on moist land and along streams. In Texas, the species is planted in a variety of landscape settings and performs best in the eastern part of the state.


Leaf blades are 3" to 4" long, with 3 to 5 lobes with toothed margins and separated by deep angular sinuses or openings. Leaf color is pale green on the surface and silvery-white underneath, turning yellow-brown in autumn. Twigs are slender, brittle, reddish-brown, and shiny.


Flowers are greenish-yellow and appear in clusters in the spring before the leaves.


Ripening in spring, fruit is a pair of winged samaras-or "keys"-with wings 1" to 2" long, joined at the base to a slender, flexible, thread-like peduncle about an inch long.


Bark is gray and smooth on young branches and trunk; breaking into narrow, flattened plates on older trunks that peel away slightly to give a rough, somewhat "shaggy" appearance.


Wood is pale, soft, weak, even-textured, rather brittle, easily worked, and decays readily when exposed. It is occasionally marketed as "soft maple" and used for flooring, furniture and fuelwood.

Similar Species:

Red maple (Acer rubrum) has acute sinuses between leaf lobes.

Interesting Facts:

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