Red Maple is a beautiful deciduous tree, which will typically grow 40 to 70 feet with a rounded to oval crown. This handsome shade tree displays red coloring during different seasons of the year. It has the distinction of having the greatest north to south distribution of all trees on the east coast. Pioneers once made ink and and black dyes from an extract of the bark. Red Maple is prized as an ornamental shade tree because of its rapid growth, highly colored flowers, fruit (winged samaras) and spectacular fall colors. Leaves are shiny green above and pale green beneath, 3 to 5 lobed and 3 to 6 inches across with lobes separated by V-shaped angles. Species name of rubrum (meaning red) is everywhere in evidence: red flowers in dense clusters in late March to early April before the leaves appear, red fruit (initially reddish, two-winged samara), reddish stems and twigs, red buds and in the fall, orange to brilliant red foliage color. Quality of fall color may vary considerably. Red Maple grows faster than Norway and Sugar Maples, but slower than Silver Maple. Sap of this tree can be used to make a maple syrup that is inferior in quality to syrups made from the Sugar Maple.