Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) is a maple native to eastern and central Europe and southwest Asia, from France east to Russia, north to southern Scandinavia and southeast to northern Iran. It is a deciduous tree to 20-30 m tall with a broad, rounded crown.
The leaves are opposite, palmately lobed with five lobes, 12-25 cm across. The leaf stems secrete a milky juice when broken. The flowers are in corymbs of 15-30 together, yellow-green with five petals 3-4 mm long; flowering occurs in early spring after 30-55 growing degree days.
The fruit is a double samara with two winged seeds, the seeds are disc-shaped, strongly flattened, 10-15 mm across and 3 mm thick. The wings are 3-5 cm long, widely spread, approaching a 180-degree angle. It typically produces a large quantity of viable seeds, a factor which contributes to its invasive character.
The bark is gray. In mature trees, the bark is shallowly grooved. Unlike many other species of maple, mature trees do not tend to develop a shaggy bark.
Cultivation and uses
Many cultivars have been selected, with distinctive leaf shape or coloration such as the deep red of 'Crimson King', the variegated leaves of 'Emerald Queen', and the deeply divided, feathery leaves of 'Dissectum'.
It has been widely introduced into cultivation in other areas, including western Europe northwest of its native range. It grows north of the Arctic Circle at Tromsų, Norway. In North America, it is grown as a street and shade tree. It is favoured due to its tolerance of poor, compacted soils and urban pollution. As a result of these characteristics, in parts of North America the Norway maple is displacing native trees and is widely considered invasive (and has been officially classified as such by United States authorities in Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New England, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin other places). In Canada, it is invasive in southern Ontario and southern British Columbia. Norway Maple itself is threatened in a few areas by the Asian long-horned beetle, which eats through the trunk of trees, often killing them.
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