In the east half of the state, sugar maples reign supreme. Who doesn't like maple syrup?

However, the silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is still a wonderful tree found in Dickinson County. They have actually been hybridized with red maples for a pretty, fast-growing tree (Acer freemanii).

Photo of silver maple tree

Size

Silver maples grow 75-100 feet tall. It is a fast-growing tree, growing up to 24 inches each year.

Habitat

Maples like wet-mesic soil and part-shade to full sun.

Leaves

Silver maple leaves are simple, with each leaf growing on its own stalk opposite another. They have five deep lobes, and those lobes have toothed edges. The underside of each leaf is very pale or whitened.

Maple is the lone standout in northwest Iowa with red leaves in the fall, adding some color variety to the landscape.

Seeds

Maples are known for winged seeds called samaras that grow about 1.5-2.5 inches long. Squirrels, birds and other small animals enjoy eating the seeds that have different nicknames, including helicopters, whirligigs, polynoses and spinning jennies.

Photo of maple seeds

Fall leaf color guide

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Identifying the leaves of trees native to northwest Iowa

Fall is the time of year to look at leaves. We pick them up and marvel at colors. We rake them up in the yard. We jump in the piles and toss them in the air. But what kind of leaf are you looking at? We have put together a list of different kinds of…

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