8 Different Kinds of Maple Trees in Iowa

In Iowa, the Black walnut tree is the most common tree; in fact, two out of every 100 trees you find in the state are Black walnut trees, which is also a very important tree in the timber industry. Ash trees are the second-most common tree, but there are dozens of other species that do extremely well in this state, such as Maple of which there are 8 different types commonly seen.

If you visit Iowa in the fall, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful trees with leaves of colors such as yellow, orange, red, and reddish-orange. Fall is beautiful there, and one of the main reasons why is the number of maple trees found throughout most of the state. The official state tree is the Oak tree, but maples are prevalent there and do a great job of dotting the landscape with beautiful colors.

Maple trees are beautiful trees but also make great shade trees, which is why you see so many of them in public parks and individual homes. They can accommodate dry conditions, including droughts, so they are easy to grow and to maintain. If you’d like to know more about the specific types of maple trees found in the state of Iowa, keep reading because that information is listed below and, when combined with online resources, it will tell you everything you need to know about maple trees.

1. Box Elder Maple (acer negundo)

The box elder maple tree only lives 60-100 years but grows very fast, getting up to 80 feet in height. At one time, the Native Americans used this tree for a variety of purposes, including for incense when they burned its wood and as candy when they combined the sap with certain animal hides. This proves that the box elder maple tree is a very versatile tree indeed.

The wood of the box elder maple is not as strong as other maple trees, but it is still strong enough to make stemware, bowls, pens, and fiberboard, among other items.

2. Black Maple (acer nigrum)

When you look at the black maple and compare it to the sugar maple, they look a lot alike. The main difference is that sugar maple leaves have five lobes and black maples leaves have only three. The tree grows 70-110 feet high and is used mostly as timber for landscaping tasks, as well as for the production of maple syrup.

Some of the foods made out of the black maple tree syrup include maple butter, maple taffy or toffee, certain beers and liqueurs, and maple leaf cream cookies, to name a few.

3. Silver Maple (acer saccharinum)

Silver maple leaf trees grow relatively fast and get from 36 to 49 feet in height. They are deciduous trees that are usually found near waterways and wetlands — hence their other names that include water or swamp maple. They are found mostly in the eastern and central parts of the United States such as Illinois and Tennessee, and the southeastern part of Canada. 

With beautiful five-lobed leaves, the tree sheds its leaves earlier than other types of maple trees, and it has wood that can be used for wood pulp, lumber, and for making items such as tool handles and crates.

4. Sugar Maple (acer saccharum)

The sugar maple is the most common maple tree used in the production of tasty syrup, and it grows to roughly 115 feet high. Some, however, have been known to reach heights of 150 feet, and the tree also boasts some of the most beautiful leaves during the fall months.

The leaves, in fact, have five lobes and are eight inches in length, and their colors include bright orange, yellow, and orange-red. Found frequently in public areas, the tree is also super-easy to grow and can be found in parks, gardens, and many other areas. In the fall especially, sugar maples are truly a sight to see.

5. Autumn Blaze Maple (acer freemanii)

Acer x freemanii Freeman maple
James St. John Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii)

This tree has many cultivars and is also called the Freeman maple. Cultivars include the Morgan, Firefall, Jeffersred, Sienna Glen, and the Armstrong, among others. Like other maple trees, the autumn blaze maple tree has gorgeous bright-red leaves and a trunk that is tall and slender. 

The tree is also very neat and even in appearance, and it is therefore perfect for lining your landscape or showing it off in certain public areas.

6. Green Mountain Maple (acer spicatum)

Acer spicatum
Public Domain Acer spicatum

Green mountain maple trees are not very tall, growing from 10 feet to 25 feet high only, and they are also called moose or dwarf maples. They do very well in higher elevations and have short trunks and slender branches. The leaves range from 2.5 inches to 4 inches and have either three or five lobes, depending on the type.

This is also a tree with many uses, not just in the making of maple syrup, which include tanning leather and various poultices made from the twigs to treat everything from eye irritations to stress and anxiety.

7. Red Maple/October Glory Maple (acer rubrum)

The most abundant native tree in the eastern USA, the red maple/October Glory gets as high as 100 feet and has leaves that come in many shapes. This is a very adaptable tree because it can accommodate a variety of different site and soil conditions. Another name for the red maple tree is the soft maple. It is also very simple to grow and to care for.

Perfect for urban and rural areas, the red maple has wood that is used in the making of furniture, musical instruments, and veneer, and of course, it is used to make maple syrup as well.

8. Commemoration Sugar Maple (acer saccharum)

Acer saccharum ‘Commemoration’
Acer saccharum ‘Commemoration’

This tree is a cultivar of the Sugar maple tree and is characterized by its fast growth and its beautiful, dark-green leaves that have a leathery texture. In the fall, this tree’s leaves are pumpkin-orange in color and can bloom a full two weeks before other Sugar maples do. They get to roughly 55-feet in height and have a trunk that is 35-feet in diameter. This makes them a perfect shade tree regardless of where they are located.

Besides Iowa, the Commemoration maple is also found in Michigan and Wisconsin.