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Canyon Maple Acer grandidentatum


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Canyon Maple
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Alternate name: Bigtooth Maple, Sugar Maple

Family: Aceraceae, Maple view all from this family

Description A shrubby or somewhat tree-like maple. Crown roundish. Bark dark brown, plate-like scales, thin, easily damaged. Branches stout, erect. Leaves 3-5 bluntly-pointed lobes, deciduous, simple, 6–12 cm. long and broad, turning golden yellow to red in fall. Flowers appear with the leaves in mid spring; produced in corymbs of 5–15 together, each yellow-green, about 4–5 mm. diameter, no petals. Fruit two winged seeds joined at the base (a paired samara), green to reddish-pink in color, maturing brown in early fall. Seeds globose, 7–10 mm. diameter, with a single wing 2–3 cm long.

Dimensions Height: 12 m. (40 ft.)
Diameter: 20 cm. (8 in.).

Habitat Mountains, Canyons & valleys.

Range Northwest, Southwest, Texas, Plains, Rocky Mountains.

Discussion Occasionally planted as an ornamental tree, valued for its drought tolerance and ability to grow in rocky landscapes. Other names used include Lost Maple, Sabinal Maple, Western Sugar Maple, Uvalde Big Tooth Maple, Canyon Maple, Southwestern Big Tooth Maple, Plateau Big Tooth Maple, Limerock Maple, Wasatch Maple and Rocky Mountain Sugar Maple.

Comments Bigtooth or canyon maple is able to withstand heat and dry spells and thrives in alkaline soil. Its best growth is at altitudes of 4,000 to 6,000 ft. Young trees of this species suffer heavy damage from rabbit predation.

Exposure Preference Sun to partial sun.

Native Distribution E. Idaho, s.c. Montana & w. Wyoming, s. to w. Texas & Arizona

Site Preference Mountain streams & canyons

Soil Preference Moist soils.