Invasive Species -


Norway maple
(Acer platanoides L. )


Photos & Description courtesy of IPANE

Where it's from

Southern Scandinavia


What Norway maple does to the habitat

The Norway maple has a dense and shallow root system which crowds out native plants. The tree creates dense shade to further discourage plat growth. The saying is that only Norway maple can grow under Norway maple.

It’s roots exude a poisonous substance that prevents growth of native trees. European trees have evolved together with the Norway maple have developed a protection from this substance, but not our native trees.


Can also be a hazardous tree as the shallow roots make it susceptible to blow downs in storms.



The leaf of the Norway maple is somewhat larger than our red maple, but very similar in outline. It has similar “helicopter seeds that rotate in their fall to the ground, but the red maple seeds form close to a 45 degree angle to each other while the Norway maple is close to 180 degrees. Another way to tell a Norway maple is to pull a leaf and break the petiole and if a milky sap appears, it’s a Norway.



Seedlings can be pulled up by hand. More established volunteers require digging tools. Large trees can be cut down (good for firewood) and new shoots cut or sprayed with Round Up.


Common Name

Full Scientific Name

Norway maple Acer platanoides L.

Family Name Common

Family Scientific Name

Maple family Acer platanoides


Botanical Glossary

Acer platanoides is a tree that usually grows to 12-18 m (40-60 ft.) in height, but can reach heights of 30 m (100 ft.). The bark of the tree is grayish and regularly and shallowly grooved. The palmately lobed leaves are opposite and have 5 to 7 sharply acuminate lobes (with large but few teeth). These leaves are 10-18 cm (4-7 in.) wide. The leaf petioles exude a white sap when broken. The leaves are usually green in color, but there are some cultivars that have dark red leaves. The fall color of the green leaves is yellow. The flowers appear in April and May and are yellow-green in color. They are borne in erect, pedunculate, rounded corymbs. Each flower is 5-6 mm (0.25 in.) wide. The pendulous fruit measure 4-5 cm (1.5-2 in.) in length. The fruit are samaras that are green when young and turn yellow, then brown, with age. The samara wings are divergent, reaching nearly 180 degree angle to each other. Page References Bailey 637, Fernald 986, Gleason & Cronquist 352, Holmgren 331, Magee & Ahles 719, Seymour 379.

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