Aceraceae (Maple) Family
Swamp Maple is also known as Red Maple and Scarlet Maple.
Plant is a large tree with a narrow or rounded crown. Height is 60-90 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 to 3 feet. Its preferred habitat is moist soils of stream banks, but it is known to tolerate drier areas. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are opposite on the stem, 2 to 4 inches long and almost as broad. Each leaf is oval-shaped with three shallow short-pointed lobes. Often there will be two smaller lobes near the base. The form is irregular and roughly saw-toothed with five main veins from the base. The leaf stalks are long, red or green, dDull green above, whitish and hairy beneath, turning red, orange, and yellow in autumn.
The flowers are small, reddish, crowded in nearly stalkless clusters along twigs and appear in late winter or early spring before the leaves emerge. Male and female flowers are in separate clusters.
Fruit is about one inch long including the wing; paired forking keys; red, turning reddish-brown and maturing in the autumn.
Swamp Maple is a handsome shade tree, displaying some red in different seasons. Pioneers made ink and cinnamon-brown and black dyes from a bark extract. It has the greatest north-south distribution of all tree species along the east coast and since it intergrades easily with the Southern Sugar and Silver-leaf Maple it is sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other.