Acer pensylvanicum
Moosewood leaves.jpg
Striped maple leaves, Cranberry Wilderness, West Virginia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Section: Acer sect. Macrantha
A. pensylvanicum
Binomial name
Acer pensylvanicum
L. 1753
Acer pensylvanicum range map.png
Natural range
  • Acer canadense Duhamel
  • Acer tricuspifolium Stokes

Acer pensylvanicum, known as the striped maple, moosewood, moose maple or goosefoot maple, is a small North American species of maple. The striped maple is a sequential hermaphrodite, meaning that it can change its sex throughout its lifetime.


The striped maple is a small deciduous tree growing to 5–10 meters (16–33 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 20 cm (8 in) in diameter.[3] The shape of the tree is broadly columnar, with a short, forked trunk that divides into arching branches which create an uneven, flat-topped crown.

The young bark is striped with green and white, and when a little older, brown.[3]

The leaves are broad and soft, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long and 6–12 cm (2.5–4.5 in) broad, with three shallow forward-pointing lobes.[3]

The fruit is a samara; the seeds are about 27 mm (1.1 in) long and 11 mm (0.43 in) broad, with a wing angle of 145° and a conspicuously veined pedicel.[3][4][5]

The bloom period for Acer pensylvanicum is around late spring.[6]

The spelling pensylvanicum is the one originally used by Linnaeus.


The natural range of the striped maple extends from Nova Scotia and the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, west to southern Ontario, Michigan, and Saskatchewan; south to northeastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and along the Appalachian Mountains as far south as northern Georgia.[7][8]


Striped maple growing at the edge of a forest with pine and hickory in the background (Zena, New York)

Moosewood is an understory tree of cool, moist forests, often preferring slopes. It is among the most shade-tolerant of deciduous trees, capable of germinating and persisting for years as a small understory shrub, then growing rapidly to its full height when a gap opens up. However, it does not grow high enough to become a canopy tree, and once the gap above it closes through succession, it responds by flowering and fruiting profusely, and to some degree spreading by vegetative reproduction.[9][10]

Mammals such as moose, deer, beavers, and rabbits eat the bark, particularly during the winter.[11]


  1. ^ Barstow, M.; Crowley, D. (2017). "Acer pensylvanicum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T193849A2285894. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T193849A2285894.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ The Plant List, Acer pensylvanicum L.
  3. ^ a b c d Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
  4. ^ Carolina Nature
  5. ^ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, University of Texas
  6. ^ "Conservation Plant Characteristics for ScientificName (CommonName) | USDA PLANTS". Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  7. ^ "Striped Maple". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  8. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  9. ^ Hibbs, D. E; B. C. Fischer (1979). "Sexual and Vegetative Reproduction of Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.)". Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 106 (3): 222–227. doi:10.2307/2484558. JSTOR 2484558.
  10. ^ Hibbs, D. E.; Wilson, B. F.; Fischer, B. C. (1980). "Habitat Requirements and Growth of Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum L.)". Ecology. 61 (3): 490–496. doi:10.2307/1937413. JSTOR 1937413.
  11. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 575. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.

External links