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Broadleaved Trees of Yosemite National Park (1947) by C. Frank Brockman


ROCKY MOUNTAIN MAPLE

Acer glabrum Torr. — Maple Family (Aceraceae)

Although this species will be most generally noted as a tall shrub, the Rocky Mountain or dwarf maple occasionally attains the stature of a small tree, reaching a height of ten to fifteen feet and a diameter of three to four inches. It generally occurs in moist but poor gravelly to rocky soils in protected canyons and gulches up to about the 7,000 foot elevation. Hikers using the Ledge Trail will find it common in such situations along that route.

The leaves, borne opposite on the branches, have slender stems one to five inches long, are one to three inches across, rather conspicuously veined, and are dark green and shiny upon the upper surface (paler below). They are three (occasionally five) lobed, with the edges of the lobes coarsely toothed. The stems of the leaves are occasionally red.

The winged seeds, which are about one inch in length, are borne in pairs. Before maturity they are a bright rose-red in color, changing to russet-brown before they ripen in late summer or early fall.

The trunk possesses smooth, reddish-brown bark with a slight gray tint. Mature twigs are reddish-brown.



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