Plants and People Project

Red Maple - Acer rubrum

Cherokee women drank a tea made from the bark to treat cramps.

Iroquois, Potowatami and Ojibwe peoples boiled part of the bark to make a wash for sore eyes.

European settlers made spools, plates and spinning wheels from the wood. They also used the bark for a tonic. Leaves were boiled to be used as a poultice for boils.

Pioneers made ink, as well as, cinnamon-brown and black dyes from a bark extract.

The sap from maple trees (including red) is widely used in the commercial production of maple syrup. Each tree yields between 5 and 60 gallons of sap per year. You need about 32 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup or 4 1/2 pounds of sugar. NWF Tree Quiz.

Today we use the wood for many items including clothes pins and hangers and cooking utensils.

Many people have planted these trees in their yards for shade and because of their year round beauty.

Animals use the trees for shelter and nesting sites to raise their young. Rodents and birds eat the seeds, while deer eat the leaves. PA DCNR

The red maple’s fruit is a pair of attached seeds with long wings to aid in spreading them. They swirl to the ground in "showers" in the late spring. I nicknamed them helicopters due to their swirling motions.

DO Not plant Norway Maple

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Identification tips and other facts / More facts

Leaves of a Red Maple Tree


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Red Maple facts from Cornell

Maple, Sugarbush and the Anishinabe

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Posted 7/14/05 Cindy O'Hora