Maple (Acer) any of a large genus (about 200 species) of shrubs or trees in the family Sapindaceae, widely distributed in the North Temperate Zone but concentrated in China. Maples constitute one of the most important groups of ornamentals for planting in lawns, along streets, and in parks. They offer a great variety of form, size, and foliage; many display striking autumn colour. Several yield maple syrup, and some provide valuable, dense hard wood for furniture and other uses. All maples bear pairs of winged seeds, called samaras or keys. The leaves are arranged oppositely on twigs. Many maples have lobed leaves, but a few have leaves separated into leaflets.
Maples are distinguished by opposite leaf arrangement. The leaves in most species are palmate veined and lobed, with 3 to 9 (rarely to 13) veins each leading to a lobe, one of which is central or apical.