Everything You Need to Know About Striped Maple Trees

Updated on April 22, 2019
Zeph1 profile image

The author has an interest in the outdoors and the health benefits of what's found in nature.

Striped Maple
Striped Maple | Source

Striped Maple Trees

How big will a striped maple grow?

The striped maple, also known as the goosefoot maple, moosewood, and whistlewood, is a small maple that can grow to heights of between 15 to 35 feet. Many of the trees do reach heights above 30 feet though. One of the tallest striped maples ever documented was 65 feet tall. It had a circumference of four feet and six inches. It was discovered in the area of Black Mountain, in Kentucky, in the early part of the 1900s (before 1920). It is also a high priority tree for conservation in many states.

It is a maple that is also preferable as a shade tree over a timber tree.

When do striped maple bloom?

The striped maple can flower anywhere between late spring and into early summer. Flowering occurs when the leaves of the tree are nearly grown to their full size.

What do the flowers look like?

The flowers themselves are bell-shaped and are a green-yellow color. The buds of a striped maple are a red-maroonish color. The seeds change to a brown-tan color later on, around the time when the tree matures in early autumn.

Where do striped maples grow?

As for the regions where it grows, the striped maple is mainly found in the Southeastern Canada, Northeastern United States, and throughout parts of the Appalachian region. It has been seen growing, in the wild, as far south as Georgia. The tree can also be found in forested regions of Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio and a few other states.

Leaves, bark, and colors

One of the unique features of the striped maple is the appearance of its leaves and its bark. The leaves can be up to 7 inches long and are shaped like the foot of a goose, which is where the alternate name of the tree, goosefoot maple, comes from. The bark of the tree is striped—the origin of the tree's name—and the striping is especially noticeable in the young bark with its green and thin white striping and streaks. As the tree gets older, the bark changes to a brown-grey like color.

Striped Maple Leaf By Plant Image Library (Acer pensylvanicum (Striped maple)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Striped Maple Leaf By Plant Image Library (Acer pensylvanicum (Striped maple)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Growing Striped Maples From Seeds

Like other maples, this tree develops 'winged' seeds, which can be collected and used to grow new trees in a manner similar to other breeds of maple trees, with the environment where the tree is planted being the difference. However, success rates can be low even for professional and experienced tree growers. Regardless, it's still worth trying if you find a striped maple that you want to grow on your property. Like with most trees, the "easiest" way is to use the cold stratification method, which can be the most successful method of preparing the seeds for growth.

Here's a video, in multiple parts, showing that method (only with a Japanese Maple as an example):

Growing Requirements of Striped Maples

  • The best environment for a striped maple is in the shade, not in full sun, and planted in well-drained soil.
  • The tree also thrives better in an environment with moisture, but not standing water, in the soil. This is like what is typical of a dense forest and many glens.
  • When grown in partial shade, the tree is more likely to reach its maximum height. While in shaded areas, it'll have an appearance similar to a shrub.
  • The tree is very beneficial to wildlife in terms of food, habitat, and other benefits. Rabbits and hares, squirrels, deer, and moose being just some of the wildlife that feeds on parts of the striped maple. So the young trees may require some protection from wild animals but will be perfectly fine once the tree is larger.

Medicinal Uses for Striped Maple Bark

The bark is useful as a tea that has been historically used to treat coughs, kidney ailments, bronchitis, and treatment of acne.

Disclaimer: It's best to consult a doctor for treatment of any health issues you may have.

Striped Maple Growing Range By Elbert L. Little, Jr, USGS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Striped Maple Growing Range By Elbert L. Little, Jr, USGS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • What do the winged seeds of the striped maple look like?

    They look pretty much like seeds from any other type of maple tree. Wikimedia Commons has a good photo of them at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Striped_Ma...

  • How can we tell the age of a striped maple? We have them on our mountain property from a few inches to 20" tall.

    There is a guide at https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/education_safety/edu... which gives instructions on how to determine an estimate of a tree's age by measuring its circumference. Unfortunately, they don't have a growth factor number for the striped maple. One of them may be comparable to a striped maple though.

    Besides that, you can get a very rough guess at how old your striped maples are by the height that they can typically reach. Which is anywhere from 15 to 30 feet. So your trees are still young, with the 20" ones being a couple of years old at most.


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    • Zeph1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ron Noble 

      8 months ago

      In certain environments, such as in open areas where the striped maple doesn't have to compete for light, the trees can potentially live to be over 100 years old.

      As far as I can tell, not many records exist regarding the oldest striped maple trees. One site, at http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=87&t=5... , has a user submitted record about a striped maple that, in 1993, was recorded as being 99 years old.

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      How long do they live and what is the record.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      2 years ago

      Ron, thanks for the follow-up. I appreciate it.

    • Zeph1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ron Noble 

      2 years ago

      @Readmikenow I read on http://wildfoodshomegarden.com/Maples.html, that the sap of the striped maple may cause skin irritation, similar to that of poison ivy, though not as severe. So it may not be the best source of sap. Another thing, the sap may also have a low sugar content that's not suitable for good syrup when the sap is boiled down.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      2 years ago

      Very good article. Liked the video. Can you tap this type of maple tree for the sap? I do this every year with the maple trees on my property. My wife and I don't get much maple syrup, but we enjoy the process.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      I do like maple trees. I wish I had a garden big enough to grow one.


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