Acer macrophyllum – Bigleaf Maple
Botanical Name: Acer macrophyllum
Acer macrophyllum or Bigleaf Maple is a graceful and stately tree that grows to be moderate to large in size. It matures to a height and spread of 40-80 feet but sometimes will reach 100 feet tall. As this tree grows, it develops a beautiful oval or rounded crown. The bark is deeply furrowed on mature trees and is an attractive gray to reddish brown color.
The Bigleaf Maple is native to Oregon and other states up and down the Pacific Coast, from California to British Columbia. This tree is commonly found growing in mixed evergreen forests but rarely more than 200 miles east of the ocean. It is tolerant of different conditions and is found growing in both wet and dry areas. Acer macrophyllum is one of only two species of native maple that are in cultivation, the other being the Vine Maple (Acer circinatum).
The Bigleaf Maple is so-called because of its large leaves that can reach up to 12 inches in size. The species’ Latin name literally means big leaf: macro = big and phyllum = leaf. This maple has beautifully dark green leaves that have five or occasionally three lobes.
The leaves emerge in spring with a purple tinge and then mature to dark green throughout the summer. This maple can be seen brightening the forests and hillsides of the Pacific Northwest, putting on a lovely yellow and orange display in fall.
The greenish-yellow flowers grow clustered along pendulous stalks, about 4-8 inches long. They appear in April or May and attract many native pollinators such as bees and other insects. The winged samaras that follow them feed small mammals and songbirds.