Native Plant of the Month: Douglas Maple

Photo of Douglas MapleCommon Name: Douglas Maple 

Binomial Name: Acer glabrum var. douglasii 

Soil Type: moist but well-drained soil 

Sunlight: Full sun to part shade 

Form / Growth: upright branches 

Plant Type: shrub or tree 

Foliage: Deciduous 

Flowering: Yes greenish-yellow 

The Douglas Maple can be found up and down the Pacific coast from Alaska, down to California. It is considered a shrub or a small tree that grows from 3 to 30 feet tall. Its leaves are three- to five- lobed, with an emerald green coloring that turns to yellow and orange in the fall. It usually grows with multiple stems, and its bark color ranges from bright red to gray. 

Though similar in appearance to vine maples (Acer circinatum), the Douglas maple is hardier and thrives in more arid conditions. After a forest fire, this understory plant will often be one of the first signs of new growth, and is considered an important part of fire recovery.