As with all maples, they are deciduous and arranged oppositely on the twig. They are typically 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) long and wide with 3-5 palmate lobes with a serrated margin. The sinuses are typically narrow, but the leaves can exhibit considerable variation.
In dense forests, trunk will remain free of branches until some distance up the tree. Individuals grown in the open are shorter and thicker with a more rounded crown.
It can be found growing in swamps, on poor dry soils, and most anywhere in between
The species flowers are pink, fading to nearly white, about 1/2 in. across when expanded, few or many in clusters at ends of branches. Calyx of 5 dry overlapping sepals; corolla salver-shaped, the slender, hairy tube spreading into 5 equal lobes; 10 stamens; 1 pistil with a column-like style and a 5-lobed stigma.
Alternate, oval, rounded at the base, smooth above, more or less hairy below, evergreen, weather-worn, on short, rusty, hairy petioles. Somewhat leathery.
Spreading over the ground (Epigaea = on the earth); woody, the leafy twigs covered with rusty hairs.