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How to tell with great certainty if an Acer is platanoides or pseudoplatanus, if we are sure it is one of the two?


Here are the pictures of my five maples' leaves:

First, all together:

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Acer 1:

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Acer 2:

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Acer 3:

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Acer 4:

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Acer 5:

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  • The leaf looks like a give away – Graham Chiu Oct 14 '17 at 4:45
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    Either one, make maple syrup next winter. You don't need "sugar" maple; I made syrup from silver maple trees. – blacksmith37 Oct 16 '17 at 16:06
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The leafs are different. I recognize the difference between them because the pseudoplatanus usually has red petioles (leaf stalks), and the leaf seems a bit darker then platanoides. The leafs of platanoides also seem to be more 'spiky' compared to pseudoplatanus, like more sharper points, and more points. It (platanoides) looks more like the real Platanus leaf (the tree they were both named after, obviously). I think in your first figure the difference is best depicted.

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    In my answer I state that pseudoplatanus has red petiole and is darker. In your photo however, it becomes clear that platanoides is darker and has a red petiole... So it is not a very good indicator, sorry for that. The nerve pattern however is distinct, and most important difference is the more spiky leaf edges for platanoides. – benn Oct 14 '17 at 11:49
  • I updated the question with leaves of acers in my yard. I would really appreciate your opinion. – VividD Oct 17 '17 at 17:59
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    1. platanoides, 2. pseudoplatanus, 3. neither, 4. pseudoplatanus again but turned yellow, 5. platanoides again but dried and older. For number 3 I was thinking of campestre first, because it is smaller, but it has not the exact shape I expected. It is definitely another Acer species, but not one that I see often. It looks a bit like the red maple from your first figure, don't you think? – benn Oct 17 '17 at 19:28
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The other answer is correct - Norway maple leaves do have more spiky bits at the leaf margins and the obvious red petioles. In your own photograph, the Norway maple is on the left and the sycamore on the right, but also, if possible, check the samaras or keys in pairs, not singly. The pairs are held at a more horizontal angle with Norway maple, whereas sycamore samaras droop down either side rather more, which is clearly illustrated in the Mathilde Cinq-Mars illustration you've already displayed.

  • I updated the question with leaves of acers in my yard. I would really appreciate your opinion. – VividD Oct 17 '17 at 17:59
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    Unfortunately, those leaves you've posted images of have deteriorated with autumn, so its hard to be sure, butprobably the bottom image is Norway Maple and No. 2 is sycamore maple, but you need to examine the foliage when its healthy and still on the tree, preferably with keys still in place.It's also clear you have another one or two varieties of Acer, judging by the row of leaves in your first image. – Bamboo Oct 17 '17 at 18:11
  • Thanks! Judging by change of color thoroughout the year, I would say that No 3 is Acer Pseudoplatanus "Briliantissimum", and No 5 is Acer Platanoides "Schwedleri". Also it looks to me that No 1 is also some form of Acer Platanoides. But again, these are just amateurish guesses. – VividD Oct 17 '17 at 18:23
  • Acer brilliantissum is really easy to identify in spring because of the leaf colour – Bamboo Oct 17 '17 at 18:25
  • Correct, and it changed color from an amazing orange-yellow-pink mixture to very light green to light green during the spring. – VividD Oct 17 '17 at 18:27
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I use the angle of the helicopter seeds, and the time of flowering:

  • Acer pseudoplatanus: angle nearly 90 degree and it blooms after growing some leaves.

  • Acer platanoides: angle more then 90 degrees, but less then 180 degrees, it blooms before the first leaves.

And I have Acer campester which has the angles around 180 degrees, and Acer opalus with angles less then 90 degrees. But such trees are also different in habits and trunks

  • I updated the question with leaves of acers in my yard. I would really appreciate your opinion. – VividD Oct 17 '17 at 17:59
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A quick and easy test, though too late for this year - If you pull a leaf off a maple in late spring or summer and the end of the petiole "bleeds" milk, then it's always Acer platanoides.

In the photo above the seed photo, the left-hand leaf is most likely platanoides (could be saccharum, I suppose, although the cuts between the lobes appear to be too shallow).

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