Field maple, common maple
Field maple, hedge maple, common maple (Eng); arce común, moscón, arce menor (Spa); auró blanc (Cat); azcarro, astigar arrunt (Baq); alguergue (Glg); bordo-comúm (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? Because of its abundance in Europe it is the most commonly represented maple leaf in Gothic and Romanesque column capitals.
Deciduous tree that can be up to 20 m tall, with a straight trunk and dense, wide-spreading branches that form a close-packed crown. The bark is brown-grey to almost black, and becomes scaly and cracked with age. The leaves are simple, 3-8 cm long and palmate in shape (generally with 5 deep, unequal lobes, although there are cases with no basal lobes). These leaves are hairless on both sides and opposite. They secrete latex when cut and have a long stalk (about 5 cm), which is green or reddish. In autumn the leaves usually change from green to golden yellow and then to a reddish hue. The flowers are inconspicuous as they are greenish, and they appear in hanging groups after the leaves, generally in the spring. The fruit are paired, and known as samaras, or keys, and have a membranous, reddish-coloured wing that allows them to be dispersed by the wind. The seed ripens in autumn, is flattened and has wings that form an angle close to 180°.
It is indifferent to substrate although it tends to grow on cool limey soils. The field maple grows best in temperate zones, but is able to withstand the cold. In contrast, it is not resistant to severe droughts. The specimens that have become established in the wild in the archipelago, specifically at altitudes of about 950 m in Monte Las Mercedes (Anaga), are usually solitary and found in the middle of the monteverde forest or the transition pine forest; it never forms large stands as it does in its natural habitat.
The field maple is found across Europe, Asia (the Caucasus, Siberia, Mongolia, Turkestan and Asia Minor), and North Africa. In the Canaries this tree is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental on several islands, but it is only considered to have become established in the wild in Tenerife.