Thread: Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

    My mother used to have a maple tree that had purple/burgundy leaves all year (until they fell off in the fall). She called it a scarlet maple. When I look online all I see are trees with bright red leaves and several sites that said a scarlet maple and a red maple are the same tree. Are they the same tree? If so, then what kind of tree or maple tree has dark purple/burgundy leaves all year (until fall)? Thank you.

  2. #2

    RE: Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

    Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

    A number of Acer palmatum have such - like A palmatum 'atropurpureum' cultivar as well as A palm 'bloodgood', A palmatum 'Red Emperor'...many cultivars of Acer palmatum for sure.

    The leaves vary notably on 'atropurpureum', so be a good idea to look here ->

    That it? Note the leaf - its kinda unique to the Acers and the semi-steady maroon-ness, IME. It is semi-green during hottest time of summer, however, usually.

    WHat was the overall size/shape of Mom's 'scarlet' tree?? I have never heard a 'red maple' called a 'scarlet' maple, fwiw, but red's are not very common *here*...


  4. #4

    RE: Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

    I assumed it's Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ because the cultivar Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ is the most commonly planted, and most popular cultivar and that's why I posted it. Many people call ‘Crimson King’ overused. But yes there are some other Acer platanoides purple cultivars just not near as common. I was going to add more info but had to leave for like an hour, but I'm back.

    Here are some Crimson King Norway maple (Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’) pictures:

    If you thought about planting it, you might need to reconsider because they have a shallow, fibrous root system with a very dense shade which makes it virtually impossible for grass to grow under the tree. The aggressive roots frequently girdle their parent tree, ultimately choking itself to death and Norway maple is also a non-native exotic from Europe. It can be very weedy and has escaped the urban environment and is a threat to native maples, plants, and other trees in many locations.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

    Interesting how, when I google 'scarlet maple' just now, not a single reference to the 'platanoides'. Only the 'red' maples... A leaf-pic of several 'typical' leaves sure would help nail *this* one down, LOL I forgot about the plat's obviously...

    B'fly - how big/old was that tree? Mature size/age? If so, approx height/width to help rule in/out an A palm or such as few/none of the 'Japanese' types get much over 15-20' tall, kind of mini-trees mostly.


  6. #6

    RE: Can anyone help me identify the tree I'm describing

    My guess on that would be the mother was told wrong or looked up the wrong maple name and just has always called it that not for any particular reason.

    The reason I guessed Crimson King Norway maple (Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’) is because Butterfly did not say it was a small maple or anything, but only said it had dark purple/burgundy leaves all year until fall which is just like the common Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’, but there are some small Japanese Maples that have a purple color also.

    Here is the usually fall color on Crimson King Norway maple, usually a bizarre brownish-maroon:
    And here are the seeds they make after they reach a certain old enough age:

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