Norway maple

Acer platanoides

Trunks near head of Upland Trail
New leaves in late April
Dense green foliage by mid-May
Expanded leaves at Salter Grove
Expanded leaves at Laerdal Norway
Leaves turn yellow before falling
Flowers bloom in late April
Red leaves and reddish flowers Royal Red, a cultivar of Norway Maple
Large crop of fallen flowers in early May
Many samaras are aborted in late May
Red samaras of Royal Red

The Norway maple was introduced to northeastern North America from Europe as an ornamental shade tree in the mid-18th century.  Since then it has been planted as far north as Anchorage, Alaska, and as far south as Los Angeles.  It became very popular as a street tree in the mid-20th century to replace the American elm as it succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. 

At Salter Grove, the Norway maple grows to a large size.  Its thick foliage results in such deep shade that few other plants will grow beneath the crown.  It is reproductively quite successful as evidenced by numerous saplings growing in the understory throughout the upland woods.  Of course, it has a competitive edge over native tree species because its natural enemies did not come along to hinder its growth.  

Besides the original green form, there is a conspicuous cultivar of the Norway Maple at the entrance of the park.  It is called Royal Red and hard to miss.