Norway Maple
Acer platanoidesAceraceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFlowerFruit
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • none

The Plant:

  • A medium to large deciduous shade tree with a rounded crown. Densely branched, typically 40-60 feet tall (max 90 feet). Tends to be wider than tall when growing in an open area.

The Leaves:

  • opposite
  • 5-lobed
  • dark green
  • 4-7 inches wide
  • exudes milky sap when petiole is broken
  • late fall color
  • some cultivars have dark red leaves

The Stem:

  • grayish-black
  • shallow ridges and furrows

The Flowers:

  • Small yellow flowers with five petals. Buds are large and green to maroon. Blooms in April.

The Fruits:

  • samaras
  • green maturing to tan
  • 1.5-2 inches long

The Habitat:

  • many different soils
  • full sun
  • tolerant of urban conditions
  • creates dense shade


  • wind

Key ID Features:

  • large shade tree
  • deciduous
  • opposite leaves
  • 5-lobed
  • white milky sap when broken
  • gray-black bark
  • shallow ridges
  • large green-maroon buds

Similar Species:

  • Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) has clear sap, thick, irregular plated bark, seed wings at a 120 degree angle and seeds that are thick in cross section
  • Norway Maple has white sap, regularly grooved bark, a 180 degree angle to its seed wings, and seeds that are thin in cross-section.


  • The dense shade produced by Norway Maple inhibits the growth of other vegetation under its canopy. The fact that seeds are wind dispersed allows them to spread far from the parent plant.
  • On Nantucket, fruits are observed dropping from the trees in mid-June, and seem small, suggesting they may not be developing fully. Seeds do germinate but plants don't persist. Most adults are from known plantings.

Growth Form: Tree

Origin: Europe

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Likely Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Invasive

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban July 2006, propagation ban January 2009

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston