Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Rare plant monitoring annual report

Catch up with the latest news in rare plant monitoring efforts throughout Wisconsin.

Eagle license plate

Help care for rare plants and animals by ordering an Endangered Resources plate.

Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle

Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum)

Life history

Species overview

Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in cool deciduous forests. Blooming occurs late May through early June; fruiting occurs late June through late August. This species can be identified year-round.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished by its bark, which has greenish stripes and its leaves, which are more finely serrated than other maples and glarbous across the lower surface. Also, the inflorescence of A. pensylvanicum dangles downward whereas the similar-looking mountain maple (A. spicatum) has erect inflorescences.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence a slender drooping terminal raceme 10 to 15 cm long; flowers about 6 mm wider with yellow petals. Trees usually dioecious, but may change from year to year (e.g., an individual may bear female flowers one year and male flowers the next).
  • Fruit characteristics: Samaras (winged seeds) connected in pairs and diverge from one another at angles of 90 to 120 degrees; seed cavities usually indented on one site; nutlets 20 mm long.
  • Leaf characteristics: Serrate, 7 to 12 points per cm, 3-lobed, glabrous across lower surface and turn bright yellow in the fall.


  • Blooming phenology: late May through early June
  • Fruiting phenology: late June through late August
  • Optimum time to identify: This species can be identified year-round


  • Growth form: Tree/shrub
  • Vegetative reproduction: Individual plants persist by layering and basal sprouting
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Acer saccharum, Betula papyrifera. A recently documented addition (1997) to the Wisconsin flora.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Acer pensylvanicum in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in cool deciduous forests.
  • Soils: Acidic, well-drained, often sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Striped Maple. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Striped Maple. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Northern Lake Michigan Coastal 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes on or near known populations.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Although this species is often found in densely shaded forests, it responds well to small openings in the canopy. If enough striped maple individuals are present in the subcanopy prior to thinning, they can become dominant in the post-thinning canopy.


Striped Maple Photo.

Photo © Darrin Kimbler, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Striped Maple Photo.

Photo © Darrin Kimbler, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Striped Maple Photo.

Photo © Emmet Judziewicz, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Striped Maple Photo.

Photo © Kenneth J. Sytsma.

Striped Maple Photo.

Striped maple flowers when the leaves are fully developed. Individuals are dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are on separate plants.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition