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).
Species name 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’.
Crimson King prefers full to part shade with medium moisture. This is a low maintenance tree with showy flowers and leaf color suitable as a shade or street tree where spread is not a problem. Crimson King tolerates drought and air pollution.