Acer barbatum (Michx), Syn: floridanum
Aceraceae (Maple) Family
Identification: National Audubon Society, Field Guide to North American Trees, Page 570.
This is a medium-sized tree with a spreading, rounded crown, usually attaining a height of about 60 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. Preferred habitat is moist soils of valleys and upland slopes. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are paired (opposite) on the stem, short pointed or blunt lobes; wavy-edged with 5 main veins from the base. Leaf stalks are long. Color is dark green above, paler and whitish beneath; turning yellow and red in the autumn.
Flowers are bell-shaped, 5 lobed with a yellow calyx; appearing in drooping clusters on slender stalks. Male and female flowers are on separate twigs, emerging in early spring.
Fruit of Florida Maple is one-seeded and about 1 inch long including its long wing, which resembles a forking key, or horseshoe.
The tree is the southeastern relative of Sugar Maple, but it has smaller leaves and is often classed as a variety of that species. The two intergrade where their ranges meet. Unlike Sugar Maple, Florida Maple is not tapped commercially for sugar. The species occurs in the coastal plain from southeastern Virginia to central Florida, west to eastern Texas and northward along the Mississippi Valley to Southeastern Missouri.