About 150 species of deciduous or evergreen trees, some small shrubs; leaves opposite, usually simple and palmately lobed and veined, sometimes pinnately compound (e.g., A. negundo), leaf scars crescent shaped; flowers, small, in terminal or axillary clusters, 4-8 stamen, 2 styles or stigma; fruit is winged (samara), usually in joined pairs which separate when shed, one seed per fruit (key).
Acer: from the Latin name for the Maple, also meaning sharp, possibly a reference to its use as a lance or its hardwood.
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