AskDefine | Define maple

Dictionary Definition



1 wood of any of various maple trees; especially the hard close-grained wood of the sugar maple; used especially for furniture and flooring
2 any of numerous trees or shrubs of the genus Acer bearing winged seeds in pairs; north temperate zone

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A tree of the Acer genus, characterised by its usually palmate leaves and winged seeds.

Derived terms


A tree of the Acer genus, characterised by its usually palmate leaves and winged seeds
  • Albanian: panjë
  • Bulgarian: явор
  • Chinese: 槭树 (qi shu), 枫树 (feng shu)
  • Croatian: javor
  • Czech: javor
  • Estonian: vaher
  • Finnish: vaahtera
  • French: érable
  • German: Ahorn
  • Hungarian: juhar
  • Italian: acero
  • Japanese: かえで (, kaede)
  • Korean: 단풍나무 (danpung-namu)
  • Latvian: kļava
  • Lithuanian: klevas
  • Norwegian: lønn
  • Polish: klon
  • Romanian: arţar
  • Russian: клён (kl'on)
  • Slovak: javor
  • Slovene: javor
  • Spanish: arce
  • Swedish: lönn


  1. Deriving from or having a characteristic of a maple tree or maple wood.


Deriving from or having a characteristic of a maple tree or maple wood
* Spanish: arce

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Acer (maple) is a genus of trees or shrubs. They are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or (together with the Hippocastanaceae) included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification, favour inclusion in Sapindaceae. There are approximately 125 species, most of which are native to Asia, but several species also occur in Europe, northern Africa, and North America.
The word Acer is derived from a Latin word meaning "sharp" (referring to the characteristic points on the leaves) and was first applied to the genus by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1700. The type species of the genus is Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore Maple).


Maples are mostly trees growing to 10-40 meters (30-130 ft) in height. Others are shrubs less than 10 metres tall with a number of small trunks originating at ground level. Most species are deciduous, but a few in southern Asia and the Mediterranean region are evergreen. Most are shade-tolerant when young, and are often late-successional in ecology; many of the smaller species are usually understory trees growing under the canopies of other larger trees, while the larger species eventually become dominant canopy trees. Maple root systems are typically dense and fibrous. A few species, notably Acer cappadocicum, frequently produce root sprouts, which can develop into clonal colonies.
Maple flowers are green, yellow, orange or red. Though individually small, the effect of an entire tree in flower can be striking in several species. Some maples are an early spring source of pollen and nectar for bees.
The distinctive fruit are called samaras or "maple keys". These seeds occur in distinctive pairs each containing one seed enclosed in a "nutlet" attached to a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue. They are shaped to spin as they fall and to carry the seeds a considerable distance on the wind. Many people call them helicopters for their unique spin. Seed maturation is usually in a few weeks to six months after flowering, with seed dispersal shortly after maturity. However, one tree can release hundreds of the seeds at a time. Depending on the species, the seeds can be small and green to yellow and big with thicker seed pods. The green seeds are released in pairs, sometimes with the stems still connected. The yellow seeds are released individually and almost always without the stems. Most species require stratification in order to germinate, and some seeds can remain dormant in the soil for several years before germinating.

Pests and diseases

The leaves are used as a food plant for the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species (see List of Lepidoptera that feed on maples). Aphids are also very common sap-feeders on maples. In horticultural applications a dimethoate spray will solve this.
Maples are affected by a number of fungal diseases. Several are susceptible to Verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium species, which can cause significant local mortality. Sooty bark disease, caused by Cryptostroma species, can kill trees which are under stress due to drought. Death of maples can rarely be caused by Phytophthora root rot and Ganoderma root decay. Maple leaves in late summer and autumn are commonly disfigured by "tar spot" caused by Rhytisma species and mildew caused by Uncinula species, though these diseases do not usually have an adverse effect on the trees' long-term health.



Maples are planted as ornamental trees by homeowners, businesses and municipalities. Acer platanoides (Norway Maple) is especially popular as it is fast-growing and extremely cold-resistant, though it is also an invasive species in some regions. Other maples, especially smaller or more unusual species, are popular as specimen trees. Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. The Red Maple was adopted by Rhode Island as their official state tree.


maple in Belarusian: Клён
maple in Bosnian: Javor
maple in Bulgarian: Явор
maple in Catalan: Acer (gènere)
maple in Czech: Javor
maple in Danish: Løn-slægten
maple in German: Ahorne
maple in Spanish: Acer (botánica)
maple in Esperanto: Acero
maple in Basque: Astigar
maple in French: Érable
maple in Korean: 단풍나무속
maple in Upper Sorbian: Klon
maple in Croatian: Javor
maple in Icelandic: Hlynir
maple in Italian: Acer
maple in Hebrew: אדר (עץ)
maple in Lithuanian: Klevas
maple in Hungarian: Juhar
maple in Dutch: Esdoorn
maple in Dutch Low Saxon: Plataan (Acer)
maple in Japanese: カエデ
maple in Norwegian: Lønner
maple in Norwegian Nynorsk: Lønn
maple in Polish: Klon (roślina)
maple in Portuguese: Bordo
maple in Romanian: Acer
maple in Quechua: Arsi
maple in Russian: Клён
maple in Simple English: Maple
maple in Slovak: Javor
maple in Slovenian: Javor
maple in Serbian: Јавор
maple in Finnish: Vaahterat
maple in Swedish: Lönnsläktet
maple in Thai: เมเปิล
maple in Vietnamese: Chi Phong
maple in Turkish: Akçaağaç
maple in Ukrainian: Клен
maple in Chinese: 枫
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