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.