Acer macrophyllum
Common name: 
Bigleaf Maple
A-ser mak-ro-FIL-um
Sapindaceae, Aceraceae
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous tree, 50-75(100) ft [15-23(30) m], ascending, becoming rounded, shallow root system.  Leaves, opposite, simple, large (20-30 cm across, the largest leaves of all the maples), lustrous dark green above, pale beneath, 3-5 toothed lobes, petiole yields milky sap when detached.  Flowers in early spring usually before leaves appear, the flowers are small, 10 mm across, greenish-yellow, fragrant, in drooping clusters, 10-15 cm long, male and female flowers occur in the same cluster.  Fruit (double samara), large, 4 cm long, hang down in racemes, seeds very pubescent.   Foliage yellow to gold or brown in fall.
  • Sun to part spade.  Prefers a cool moist environment as that in the Pacific Northwest. Probably not suitable as a street tree.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (5)6   Native from southwest British Columbia to southern California, from sea level to 5,500 ft (1,650 m).
  • Because the bark of this tree retains moisture, in the Pacific Northwest its trunk and large branches are often covered with mosses, liverworts, and ferns (especially the licorice fern, Polypodium glycyrrhiza).  Its sap has a high sugar content, but early spring weather in its range is generally not conducive to a high flow of sap.  When cut down, the remaining stumps sprout vigorously, growing over 3 m in a single year.
  • A few forms have been identified and named, but are not generally found commercially, these include, Acer macrophyllum var. rubrum, the new leaves of this form are reddish and contrast with the yellow flowers; ‘Kimballiae’ which has more deeply lobed leaves and ‘Seattle Sentinel’, an upright (fastigiate) form.
  • macrophyllum: macro, large; phyllon, a leaf.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: large tree northwest of Pharmacy.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, spring flowering

    plant habit, spring flowering

  • flowering branches

    flowering branches

  • flower cluster and flowers

    flower cluster and flowers

  • flowers and fruit

    flowers and fruit

  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • leaf and developing fruit

    leaf and developing fruit

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • leaf, fall

    leaf, fall

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall