Field maple is native to the UK and is commonly seen as hedges as well as trees. Quite often it will be mixed in with Common Hawthorn and Common Hazel when growing as a hedge. As a tree it is a very tough and can tolerate air pollution. In Exeter they are typically planted in public parks and green spaces rather than as street trees. There is even a cultivar called 'Streetwise' which grows with a narrow, upright oval canopy making it perfect as a street tree. It can reach heights of up to 20m and has a fairly dense and broad crown. There are three fantastic large Field maple trees at the St Thomas Pleasure Grounds. It is the only truly native Maple species of the UK and is fantastic for our wildlife.
It can live for up to 350 years and is great for improving air quality as well as being tolerant of compacted soils and air pollution. On older trees the bark is narrowly and irregularly furrowed and is light brown and grey in colour. The crown is densley twiggy and the older branches can be a bit corky to the touch. Of all the European Maples the Field maple produces the highest density timber. The wood has been used for flooring, furniture and musical instruments such as violins. Like all types of Acer the buds are arranged in opposte pairs. During the winter time the buds are dark brown and slightly hairy at the tips.
On mature trees the bark is light brown / grey and irregularly furrowed
The buds arranged in opposte pairs and are green during the Spring
The leaves are dark green in the summer and turn a brilliant mix of yellows in the Autumn. They have five blunt, rounded leaves with a smooth margin. They are typically 5 - 16cm in length and 5 - 10cm broad. The petioles (leaf stalks) are green with a hint of red whereas with Sycamore they are a reddish colour. The underside of the leaf is a slighlty lighter green.
Field maple is a deciduous tree and can reach heights of up to 20m. The crown is densley twiggy
The flowers are green and yellow and are held in upright clusters
The flowers are a very intersting feature of Field maple and are often overlooked. During April the flowers will be present along with the new leaves. The flowers are bright green and yellow and from a distance are mistaken as the new Spring leaves. Up close the flowers are small and almost cup shaped and in erect clusters. They are typically hermaphrodite which means both the male and female parts are within the same flower. Quite often the flowering parts will be more dominant of either male or female. They are pollinated by insects but it is also capable of self pollination. After successful pollination the female parts of the flower develop inthe iconic helicopter seeds. The fruit is a samara with 2 winged achenes containing the 2 seeds. They are dispersed by the wind and can be carried away quite from the parent tree due to the winged design. The angle of the wings is almost 180 degress which also helps with identification as other maples have different angles.
The leaves are dark green and have five blunt, rounded lobes with a smooth margin
The fruits are known as samaras and contain two seeds
Field maple has many other names such as Hedge Maple and Dog Oak.