Silver Maple (Armstrong Maple?) with Red Leaves in album plants

In Albums:trees plants

Deeply lobed, serrated maple leaves, a dark red color

Oct 16th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows what looks to be the leaves of a silver maple, Acer saccharinum, but turned an intense red color. The silver maple is a tree native to eastern North America which invariably turns a yellow color in fall and does not turn red.

What could possibly explain this odd coloration? I observed that these were the only red leaves on the tree. This photo, taken mid-october, was taken before any of the other silver maples around had begun to change color, so there could be some anomaly going on in this part of the plant...this coloration could be a response to something other than the normal process of changing colors for fall.

Another thought that crossed my mind, as this tree was obviously planted, as it was in a cemetery, growing on drier ground than silver maples would naturally grow on (these trees love growing right next to rivers or streams, and in floodplains), was that this could be a horticultural variety of maple, selected for its fall colors. One variety that seems likely is the Armstrong maple, a hybrid between the red maple, Acer rubrum, and the silver maple, which has a leaf shape more like the silver maple, but tends to have a more reddish fall color, like the red maple.

At any rate, the sight was unusual enough to strike me as photo-worthy.