Name: Acer rubrum aka red maple
Type of Plant: A native tree that’s also called swamp maple, hardy in zones 3-9.
Why I Love This Plant: This is a beautiful large shade and specimen tree that has long lasting color in the spring and fall. In the spring the flowers are bright red and these come out before the leaves. The fruit/seeds, two-winged samaras that helicopter to the ground when they fall, are also red early on. These make the tree appear to still be in bloom when the leaves come out.
This is a fairly fast-growing maple that grows well in damp conditions but also thrives in standard, well-drained soil. These red maples vary in their fall leaf color. Some turn bright red, others gold, or a rose-tinged yellow.
A Word to the Wise: Acer rubrum has fairly shallow roots that grow well beyond the canopy, so it’s not the best tree to place near a driveway, sidewalk or too close to the house.