Big Leaf Maple

The Western North American Tree

Acer Macrophyllum

The Big Leaf Maple can grow up to 157 ft. tall, but mostly grows about 49-66 ft. tall. It has the largest leaves of any maple, usually around 5.9–12 in. across, with five deeply incised palmate lobes, with the largest running to 24 in. The 3.9–5.9 in. long raceme of yellow-greenish flowers appear as the leaves are growing in the spring. The fruit is a paired winged samara, each seed 0.39–0.59 in. in diameter with a 1.6–2.0 in. wing. In the more humid parts of its range, like in the Olympic National Park, its bark is covered with epiphytic moss and fern species. It's water needs are low.

Dichotomous Key Characteristics

Leaves are simple, opposite and deciduous; palmately lobed and veined. It has fruit that looks like a pair of airplane propellers. It is an angiosperm, and a dicot.


The wood is used for applications such as furniture, piano frames, salad bowls, stringed instruments, guitar bodies, paddles and spindle wheels. The wood is mainly used in veneer production for furniture, but is also used in musical instrument production, interior paneling, and other hardwood products. The heartwood is a light, reddish-brown, fine-grained, moderately heavy, and moderately hard and strong. In California, land managers do not highly value bigleaf maple, and it's often intentionally knocked over and left un-harvested during harvest of douglas fir and redwood season.

Fun Facts

-Native to the pacific North west.
-Locally grows all through out Ashland.
-Has very large leaves.
-Sap can be made into syrup.
-Can live up to 180-200 years.
-Insects and bees pollinate the tree and produce about 1000 pollen grains for an individual flower. That is a low number of pollen grains when it's compared to wind-pollinated oaks, birches, ashes, poplars, and elms that produce about 10,000 pollen grains per flower.