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Is this Bigleaf maple ?

Posted by dash_2006 5 (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 13:03

I found this big leaf (12" across leaf) tree at my friend's house yard in Colorado. I think it is a maple but there is no winged fruits I see. Both sides of the leaves are shiny and smooth. All the books I have list the bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) as having very deeply cut lobes. But this one is more like a sycamore leaf or Norway maple.

Could someone identify it for me?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

I would think ruling out Norway maple and sycamore would be relatively easy. Sycamore has distinctive bark, even on younger trees and Norway maple has cloudy 'sap' in the petioles.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

More like a Norway than a Sycamore, but Ive never seen a Bigleaf so I cant compare.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

To assist the identification, I add more photos. The leaves are opposite but almost clustered. It is definitely not American Sycamore because the reverse side of the leaf is not woolly. Also, the size of the Sycamore leaf is much smaller than this one. The leaf vein looks more like Maple than Sycamore.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 1:39

A Norway maple unless it's a rare species. Definitely not Acer macrophyllum.

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 15:49


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

Could also be Sugar Maple?


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 11:49

Yeah, definitely not Acer macrophyllum.
Bboy and I live in the heart of Bigleaf country.
Mike...from Maple Valley, Wa.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 15:02

Of the 2 you'd expect such kite-like, squarish leaves to be Norway instead of sugar - but it is also true that the 'Jocazam'* sugar maple is reported to produce 12" leaves; I haven't looked to see if Norway maple has been recorded beyond about 10" wide (earlier known maximum) anywhere.

Norway leaves with upper size range stalks present milky sap when these stalks are broken.

*horticulture images.com has a picture of the leaves of 'Jocazam' on the web

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 15:50


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

Wow, thank you very much for your guys help. Definitely, I will be going there this week and break the stalk for the milk sup.

Also, I will take my measuring tape to make sure it is indeed bigger than early known maximum size of Norway, 10",

It is much easier if I see those winged fruits that also aid the identification of Norway or Sugar. Is it common for maples not to produce flowers or seeds?


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

That terminal bud indicates a Norway rather than a sugar maple.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 20, 13 at 14:23

Sugar maple also tends to produce more slender, tapering twigs - it is not so stubby looking as Norway maple.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

Looks like Norway to me. Almost for certain.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 15:48

If you look at the horticulture images 'Jocazam' picture that is perhaps Norway maple also - I did not look at it very long. If so, it would not be the first time a tree cultivar was put on the market under the wrong species.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

Since I live close to the norwegian border, I have got Norway maples growing wild all over here. And they are slightly different from the maple pictured above. It might be some cultivar, but at least around here the straight species has got "pointier" leaf points, whatever they are called. The twig dosn't look perfectly right either. Bark on the first pic is a match though.


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RE: Is this Bigleaf maple ?

Today, I went back to the tree in question and broke off the leaf stem. Yes, the milky sap came to show. I measured it and found, um...mere 8". Indeed, it is Norway Maple.

Either 12" leaves were my imagination or gone during my absence for a week. I was so awe-struck with such a big leaf that I could connect to the Norway I knew before.

I thank everybody who replied here. You are very good with such a limited information. I learned it is about the shape of the leaves. With that in mind, I will try to practice more with Maples and then move on to Oaks.

Thanks to you, I am convinced tree ID is a great fun.


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