Common names for plants can vary and often differ from region to region. Aside from Striped Maple and Snakebark Maple, other common names for Acer pensylvanicum include Moosewood, Goosefoot Maple, and Whistlewood. The leaves resemble the shape of a goosefoot giving it the common name of Goosefoot Maple. Moosewood refers to the fact that moose consume the bark in winter; the name Whistlewood stemmed from Native Americans who often carved whistles from its branches.
The specific epithet pensylvanicum means “of Pennsylvania,” which is where the species was first recorded and Latinized in 1753 by the father of taxonomy himself, Carl Linnaeus.
Seedlings or saplings of Acer pensylvanicum can easily be misidentified as Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum). They are a very similar species, although Mountain Maple does not have striped bark, so you are unlikely to confuse older individuals. If you’re attempting to tell the difference between the species at a young age, the foliage on Mountain Maple has slightly more coarse-toothed edges, which is another helpful way to distinguish the two.