Scientific Name: Acer saccharum
Other Names: Hard maple; Rock maple.
Leaf: Simple, opposite; Usually 5 lobed, with 5 veins; Tips round pointed; Turn yellow, orange, or scarlet in autumn.
Flower: Males yellow, hanging from stalks before and with emerging leaves; Females greenish yellow; Males and Females on same tree; 3-7cm long.
Fruit: Seeds plump, reddish brown, winged; In keys 2.5-3cm long; Begin bearing seeds at age 30-40.
Twig: Somewhat slender; Tan or light reddish brown, smooth, slightly glossy, with tiny lenticels; Terminal bud cone-shaped, pointed, dark reddish brown.
Bark: On younger trees – smooth, silver grey; On older trees – variable, deeply furrowed, irregularly ridged, sometimes scaly.
Wood: Heavy, hard, strong, stiff; Straight-grained; Narrow heartwood pale grayish brown to reddish tan.
Height: up to 35m
Diameter: up to 90cm
Longevity: 150-300 years.
Did you know?
– Each spring, frosty nights and warmer days trigger the sap flow within the tree. Tap a hole in the tree, collect the watery sap, and boil it down until two-thirds of the water has evaporated – you have a maple syrup!
– Native people drank maple sap fresh from the tree as a cold refreshing beverage.
– Rich in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates, maple seeds are prime pickings for cardinals and grosbeaks. Chipmunks and squirrels harvest the seed crop for in-tree dining and take-home for future consumption.
List of Schools
– Blouin, Glen. 2001. An Eclectic Guide to Trees East of the Rockies. Erin, ON. Boston Mills Press
– Ministry of Natural Resources. 2013. The Tree Atlas. Retrieved from http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/ClimateChange/2ColumnSubPage/STDPROD_101493.html
– Some of the pictures photographed by Kathryn Chin.