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Woody > Acer > Acer rubrum > Acer rubrum 'Autumn Flame'

Acer rubrum

'Autumn Flame'

Autumn Flame Red Maple

Origin:  Acer rubrum ‘Autumn Flame’ was Introduced in 1964 by McGill & Sons Nursery, Fairview, Oregon, United States of America.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


‘Autumn Flame’ is aesthetically pleasing. It can be used to tell the start of autumn, as it is one of the first plants that will change its foliage colour to a scarlet red. - Brennen Dower

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Sapindaceae (Aceraceae)
'Autumn Flame'
Tree (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 8
Canadian Hardiness Zone
2 – 8a
RHS Hardiness Zone
H7 – H4
Temperature (°C)
(-35) – (-7)
Temperature (°F)
(-30) – (20)
12 – 18 m
9 – 15 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
A medium-growth tree that has a rounded crown and is known to be very hardy.
It is best used as a shade tree given its umbrella-like shape and size potential. When planting it is important to take into consideration its fragile bark, which can damage easily from mowers. It is an exceptional choice for an ornamental tree given that in early spring its red flowers will emerge and in the early autumn all leaves change to a beautiful scarlet red. Not recommended to plant near sidewalks or driveways as its roots system is known to buckle if planted too closely.
Requires full to partial sun but does not do well in hot and dry areas, as it is not drought tolerant. It likes acidic, wet soil and though it is pollution tolerant, it is not salt tolerant.
Autumn Flame Red Maple has a rounded crown throughout its life and with maturity accumulates dense foliage.
ID Characteristic
It has umbrella shaped foliage and is one of the earliest to change foliage colours from green to a rich scarlet red. The tree’s abundant leaves are smaller in size when compared to the species.
Aphids are known to have negative effects and high populations can cause the leaves to fall off the tree. Sometimes can be treated with spraying or left alone for predatory insects to control population if present. Borer insect’s presence can be used to tell if the tree is struggling. Borer insects will eat through the living bark which can cause the plant to die if not stopped. Identification of the certain borer insects can aid in getting the correct insecticides to eliminate the infestations at the appropriate time. Verticillium wilt is also known to be a common disease. Verticillium wilt is a vascular disease that can kill off whole sections of the plant. Pruning the affected areas and fertilizing the plant can give the plant hope to outgrow the infection.
Horticultural origin.
Bark/Stem Description
Young bark can be seen to have a reddish grey colour whereas older bark is grey, thin, and easily damaged.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The bud consists of 3 or more scales all overlapping themselves like shingles. Bud scales are red and no more than 1 cm in length with a rounded scale.
Leaf Description
Leaves can normally grow around 8 cm in length with 3-5 lobes. They are bright green during the summer and turn to a scarlet red during the early autumn. Leaves are also a simple, opposite/subopposite, with palmate venation that has serrate, incised, lobed margins.
Flower Description
Flowers normally appear in early spring before foliage comes back. Flowers appear in clusters and are red to reddish-yellow. They have an almost spiky look to them but with a red circle on the ends of each spike.
Colour Description
During the spring only the red flowers are seen. In late spring and summer, the leaves are green. Beginning of autumn leaves from the tree can be seen to turn an aesthetically pleasing red. Young bark typically can be seen as reddish grey while older bark is typically grey dominant.
Texture Description
Smooth leaves with medium texture bark.
Notable Specimens
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America.
Propagation can occur with softwood cuttings and semi-hardwood cuttings. For softwood cuttings it is important great care is taken since these cuttings are soft, tender and can dry out easily. Cut the plant near the area just above where mature wood has started to form. Look for shoots that have a gradation of leaf size and can be snapped easily with little effort. Best time to take this type of cutting is May, June, or July. Semi-hardwood cuttings require cutting a section where the thickened wood has started to form in its current year. This wood normally starts to form during mid July to early autumn. Most of the leaves should be full size on this cutting. In both cases it is preferred cuttings be taken during the morning and placed within pots with well drained acidic soils and in full or partial sun.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
No significant ethnobotanical uses. Can be used as mulch when chipped or used as timber wood.
Philips, L. (2009, July). Autumn Flame[R] Red Maple. Arbor Age, 29(4), 42. Missouri Botanical Garden. (unknown published date). Acer rubrum ‘Autumn Flame’. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from