Species list


Acer platanoides

Norway maple

Norway maple (Eng), arce real (Spa), erable (Cat), astigar zorrotza (Baq), bordo-da-Noruega (Por).


DID YOU KNOW...? Ötzi, the 'ice man' who was killed 5300 years ago and found in a glacier in the Alps, was carrying charcoal wrapped in Norway maple leaves.


This species is very similar to the sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) and it is often confused with it. It is a slender tree up to 30 m in height, with a wide crown. At first the bark is smooth and greyish or brownish, but with age it develops longitudinal grooves. The leaves are deciduous, simple, opposite on the twigs and lobed, but with sharp angles at the ends, very similar to the London plane (Platanus hispanica Mill. ex Münchh.). In addition, they are thin, smooth and shiny on both sides, and secrete latex when cut. The fruits are samaras, or keys, formed by seeds with wings that face each other at an angle of nearly 180°, i.e., they are not quite horizontal.


This tree grows on any substrate, either acidic or basic, but the soil must be deep, fertile, and sufficiently moist, since it is generally Atlantic or Eurosiberian in character. It grows on the edges of watercourses, in shady areas on slopes and along cool stream beds, from sea level up to altitudes of 1800 m.


This tree is found in northern and northwestern Europe, and in Asia from the Caucasus to Armenia. On the Iberian Peninsula it is a rare tree which only grows naturally in the Pyrenees, where it has its southern limit. However, in some areas it has become established in the wild, and it is also grown as an ornamental plant in parks, gardens and along streets.