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Tree Campus: Vine Maple

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Vine Maple

č̓uč̓uɬac - S. Lushootseed

Acer circinatum (SAPINDACEAE)



S.W. BC to N. Calif.



"During the summer, vine maple's abundant foliage is a preferred food of black-tailed deer and elk. Since it grows at low elevations, it is usually abundant on elk winter ranges and ranks high as an elk winter browse.

In western Oregon, seral vine maple/western swordfern communities which develop after wildfire supply a high quantity of forage for black-tailed deer. Black-tailed deer show a high preference for this community during all seasons. Seral brush communities with an abundance of vine maple often contain high populations of mountain beaver.

The seeds, buds, and flowers of maples provide food for numerous birds and small mammals. Squirrels and chipmunks eat the seeds, frequently storing them in caches after removing the hull and wing. Numerous birds use the leaves and seed stalks of maples for nest building.

Vine maple is eaten by both cattle and sheep. Sheep utilization of available vine maple herbage averaged 79 and 84 percent over two consecutive summers on cut-over Douglas-fir lands in Washington. Sheep allowed to graze during the summer on Douglas-fir plantations in western Oregon also showed a preference for vine maple." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Vine maple is an ornamental shrub used in landscaping. Native Americans called this maple "basket tree" because they weaved baskets with the long straight stems. Native Americans also carved the wood into numerous household utensils such as spoons, bowls, and platters, and used the branches for scoop nets to take salmon." [1]



"Vine maple wood has no commercial value but is used locally for tool handles and firewood." [1]



[1] Uchytil, Ronald J. 1989. Acer circinatum. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:

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