|Possibly the most beautiful maple ever - Acer leucoderme|
I've been comparing the fall color on maples around me lately and thought I could present some ideas on what to choose if you’re looking for specific colors. From yellow to orange to red, they’re all here.
All maples have opposite leaf arrangement and lobed, simple leaves. In general they are important to wildlife for a variety of reasons. The flowers, especially the early flowers of red maple, are sources of pollen for insects as early as February in south Georgia. The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. The foliage is a host plant for 285 different species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), making it #8 on the top 20 list of woody plants that provide host services.
And, as we all know, the winged samaras that contain the seeds are a source of much amusement for children as they twirl to the ground. Some species of maples drop their seeds in the spring (red and silver, for example) while others drop their seeds in the fall (sugar and chalk).
|Red maple (Acer rubrum)|
Red maple (Acer rubrum) is a common wild maple throughout Georgia. The ones that I find the most have 3 primary lobes with serrated margins. Sometimes there will be 5 lobes but the two lobes closest to the base will be smaller compared to the others.
Not only is leaf shape variable, but this species can have fall color that is yellow, yellow with red highlights, orange or red.
|Red maple - reddish leaves|
|Red maple - yellowish leaves|
|Acer rubrum 'October Glory'|
|Acer x freemanii 'Autumn Blaze'|
|Chalk maple (Acer leucoderme) leaves from Lisa's tree|
Fall color range is yellow to orange to red, sometimes all at once on the same tree. A roadside tree (see first picture in this post) near me turns a brilliant red each fall while its neighbors are more orange-red. They make a spectacular group.
|Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)|
Maple syrup comes from the sap of this tree. The tree is sometimes visited by sapsuckers, a type of woodpecker that drills for the sap; they do feed on other maples and other trees as well. The bark can blacken over time as a result of this activity.
|Acer saccharum var. floridanum|
The leaf is very similar to chalk maple and sugar maple with a few hairs on the back side (but fewer than chalk maple). A local population in my neighborhood (including my yard) has clear yellow foliage with only occasional hints of orange.
Maples are a worthy part of local ecosystems where they are native. Research your conditions and see if one of these can find a place in your landscape.
Note: click on any picture to see it full size.