Acer rubrum

Acer rubrum

Scientific name : Acer rubrum
Common name : red maple, scarlet maple, soft maple, swamp maple
Family : Aceraceae (Maple Family)
Origin : Native to North America
Distribution : Newfoundland to MN south to FL, OK and TX (a zone 3 to 9 plant).
Blooming period : One of the early bee forages (late March and April) in the Lansing, MI area.
Honey : We doubt that pure red maple honey has ever been collected in such a way that one could definitively say that it was collected exclusively from that species. Pellett [1], based on a report from a Michigan beekeeper, mentions that the honey is amber and of "rather poor quality", but it is not clear if he is talking about maples in general or about red maple specifically.
Pollen : We presume that red maple provides the bees with pollen since other maples do. This providing of early pollen may be red maple’s most important function for the beekeeper, for it would help stimulate brood rearing and colony building for later honey flows.
Additional information : Red maple is tolerant of wet conditions and is frequently found in low woods and swamps and around other wet areas, but it is also common in many other types of wooded areas. The flowers come out long before the leaves. Trees can bear flowers of one sex or they can have both male and female flowers. The pedicels that attach the flowers to the stem of the plant are at first quite short, but lengthen greatly as the blooming season progresses. Red maple is a good name for this tree because in the spring the flowers, especially the female flowers, frequently give the tree a red coloration and the leaves turn bright red in fall. There are many cultivars of red maple commercially available. These have generally been selected for their showy red color.
Reference : [1] Pellett, F. C. 1976. American Honey Plants. Dadant and Sons. Hamilton IL.

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