The Sugar Maple Tree - Bark, Twigs, Leaves, Fruit

Sugar Maple
Hard Maple, Rock Maple
(Acer saccharum Marshall)

Bark | Twigs | Leaves | Fruit | Outstanding Features

Sugar maple is a magnificent forest tree abundant everywhere in the State outside of Long Island. Besides providing beautiful borders to many miles of highway, and hundreds of thousands of gallons of maple syrup, it yields a wood of high grade. The wood is hard, strong, close-grained, and tough, with a fine, satiny surface. It is in great demand for flooring, veneer, interior finish, furniture, shoe lasts, rollers, and as a fuel wood of the best quality.

Bark - on young trees dark gray in color, close, smooth, and firm; becoming furrowed into long irregular plates lifting along one edge.

Twigs - slender, shining, and warmly brown, the color of maple sugar.

Winter buds - conical, sharp-pointed, and brown in color, the terminal buds much larger than the lateral buds.

Leaves - simple, opposite, from 3 to 5 inches long and fully as wide, from 3-5 shallow lobes with wide-spaced coarse teeth, dark green in color above, paler below; the clefts are rounded at the base. Leaf edge is smooth between the points The leaf stalk (petiole) is typically equal in length or shorter than the leaf blade.

Fruit - maple keys (samaras), in short clusters, ripening in September. Samaras are paired with the seeds joining each other in a straight line, but the wings are separated by about 60 degrees.

Outstanding features - rounded cleft between lobes of leaves; sharp-pointed, brown buds; brown twig.

Courtesy of: http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/kids/tree_sug.htm

For more information on the sugar maple: http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/pubs/trees.htm

Dori Ross


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