It is a deciduous tree growing to 20–30 m tall with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter, and a broad, rounded crown. The bark is grey-brown and shallowly grooved; unlike many other maples, mature trees do not tend to develop a shaggy bark. The fruit is a double samara with two winged seeds; the seeds are disc-shaped.
In North America, it is grown as a street and shade tree. Norway maple prefers full sun, withstands hot dry conditions and tolerates ozone and sulfur dioxide air pollution. It is adapted to extremes in soils (sand, clay, acid, calcareous) and hardy to USDA Zone 4. It can be found in early and late succession forest, forested wetlands, open disturbed areas, roadsides, vacant lots, yards and gardens.
It is not particularly a long-lived tree, with a maximum age of around 250 years. Norway Maple is generally free of serious diseases, though can be attacked by the powdery mildew and verticillium wilt disease caused by Verticillium spp.