Keystone Value: The genus Acer (Maple) supports over 280 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars, providing food for a variety of birds and mammals.
Red Maple is a large deciduous tree that grows 40-70′ tall and is commonly found across North America. It is aptly named, having a red tinge in its new growth, twigs, buds, flowers, and seeds as well as vibrantly red fall foliage. In landscaping, Red Maple is utilized for its fast growth and makes an impressive specimen and shade tree. Red Maple prefers average, well-drained soil, however it is also known as a “supergeneralist” and can be found in a wide variety of sites across a wide range of conditions. Not only is Red Maple a keystone species that hosts hundreds of caterpillars (including the Rosy Maple Moth pictured above), but it also provides habitat and food for a variety of birds and mammals. Furthermore, Red Maple’s early bloom time makes it an essential nectar and pollen source for pollinators as they emerge in the spring.