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Striped Maple vs Mountain Maple

These two species frequently occur in the same habitat as understory shrubs or small trees; their leaves are similar but can be distinguished. They are easily distinguished by bloom.

Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum)

Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum)

A small maple that grows as a large shrub to medium-sized tree. Highly shade-tolerant. Found in cool forests of the northeast and at higher elevations in the Appalachians.
An understory shrub or small tree native to the northeastern U.S. and northern Midwest, and also found at high elevations in the Appalachians.
Serrations at leaf margins very fine. Leaf texture also very fine.
Photo © Charlie Hohn, CC BY 4.0.
Coarser serrations on leaf margins. Leaf texture also looks coarser.
Photo © Summit Metro Parks, CC BY 4.0.
Blooms in a dropping cluster of relatively few flowers.
Photo © Derek, CC BY 4.0.
Blooms in an erect spike with numerous flowers.
Photo © Derek, CC BY 4.0.
Samaras spread farther horizontally and are less downward-oriented. Usually green. Often have a visible depression in the seed.
Photo © Pete Grannis, CC BY 4.0.
Samaras hang downwards more and spread horizontally less. Often red in color. Seed tends to look fuller and rounder.
Photo © Charlie Hohn, CC BY 4.0.