Acer platanoides 'Crimson King'
Common Name: Norway maple 
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Maroon yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Tolerant of heat and drought. Generally tolerant of many urban pollutants. Freely reseeds. Trees have escaped cultivation and naturalized in many areas of the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. Shallow root system.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer platanoides, commonly called Norway maple, is native to Europe. It has been widely planted in urban areas throughout much of the U.S. It is a medium-sized deciduous shade tree typically growing 40-50’ tall with a dense, symmetrical, rounded crown. Leaves (to 7” across) have five sharply pointed lobes and resemble those of sugar maple. Leaf stems exude a milky sap when cut. Fall color is usually an unremarkable yellow. Small yellow flowers in erect clusters (corymbs) appear in spring before the foliage. Flowers give way to paired seeds with horizontally spreading wings (samaras to 2” long).

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet means resembling platanus (sycamore), which is somewhat curious since the leaves of Norway maple do not really bear that much resemblance to sycamores.

‘Crimson King’ is a red-leaved cultivar which is noted for its rich maroon leaves that last throughout the summer and its purple fruits. Fall color is unremarkable. It is more compact and tends to grow slower than the species. Maroon-yellow flowers appear in clusters before the foliage in spring. Although small, the flowers have interesting ornamental value. Flowers give way to purple samaras (to 2” long) with horizontally spreading wings. ‘Crimson King’ was introduced in the U. S. in 1947 as a seedling of A. platanoides ‘Schwedleri’.


Susceptible to verticillium wilt which is usually fatal. Shallow root system can crack or heave nearby driveways or sidewalks. Shallow surface roots can interfere with turf. Bark is susceptible to sunscald and cracking (frost cracks) in winter, particularly on younger trees. The thick canopy of leaves and shallow roots severely limits what can be grown within the drip line of the tree.


Shade tree. Although once widely planted as a street tree, this use is not generally recommended in many areas now.