The field maple packs a powerful punch when it comes to combating climate change and supporting biodiversity. Its ability to grow in a variety of soils and climates makes it a valuable tree for reforestation efforts, while its nectar-rich flowers and leafy canopy provide food and shelter for a plethora of wildlife. So, let's take a closer look at this little wonder and appreciate all the good it does for our planet!
Scientific Name: Acer campestre
Family: Acer Family (Sapindaceae)
Average Height: Can grow up to 10-20 metres tall.
Average Canopy spread: Can spread up to 5-10 metres wide.
Preferred Ground Conditions/Habitat: Field maples are adaptable to different soil types, but prefer well-drained soils. They can be found in hedgerows, woodlands and mixed deciduous forests throughout the UK.
How to Identify Field Maple
Field Maple Leaf ID: The leaves of field maple are green in summer, lobed and roughly circular in shape. They have five shallow lobes and are usually around 10 centimetres in length. The leaves fade to a glorious yellow gold before falling from the tree in autumn.
Field Maple Flowers ID: The flowers of field maple are small and greenish-yellow in colour, appearing in clusters in April and May.
Field Maple Fruit ID: The winged seeds of field maple are called a paired samara, with each wing being around 3 centimetres in length. These samaras are often referred to as 'helicopters' or 'whirligigs'. Beginning with a pink tinge, they ripen from September to November and are dispersed by wind. The wings allow the seed to fall much more slowly as they spin through the air, so are dispersed further from the tree than if they fell in a straight line.
Field Maple Bark ID: The bark of field maple is light grey-brown in colour and develops vertical grooves and ridges with age, giving it a corky texture and appearance.
What Native UK Wildlife Does Field Maple Support and How Does It Support Them?
The field maple supports a wide range of UK wildlife. Its flowers provide nectar for bees and other pollinators, and its leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of several moth species, including the mocha and scalloped hazel. The seeds provide a food source for birds such as bullfinches, greenfinches and siskins. The tree also provides shelter and nesting sites for a variety of birds, including woodpeckers and nuthatches.
Properties and Uses of Wood/Parts of the Field Maple
The wood of field maple is hard and strong, and has historically been used for furniture, musical instruments and tool handles. The tree is also sometimes used as a hedge plant, as its dense foliage provides good cover.
Start your tree planting journey today. Join I Dig Trees and be a part of something truly special.
Together, we’re taking positive action - planting millions of trees for climate, wildlife and communities.