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Common Name: Sugar Maple
Scientific Name: Acer sacharum
Family Aceraceae
Syrup, sugar, water. The sap can serve as good drinking water in areas where water is
contaminated. Boil sap slowly to produce syrup (it takes 30-40 gallons of sap to produce
one gallon of syrup). Further boiling produces sugar.
Growth form: Large tree.
Leaves: 9-14cm (3.5-5.5in) long, opposite, usually with 5 palmate lobes, each with a
few long teeth. Edges do not droop.
Flowers: small and yellow-green. Hang in clusters.
Fruits: 2.5-3cm (1-1.25in) and paired. Seed is roundish, with long wing. Brown.
Maturing June through September.
Buds: Pointed and brown.
Bark: Grayish, with deep vertical ridges.
Forest and woodlands on mesic soils in valleys and uplands.
Manitoba to Newfoundland, south to North Carolina and Kansas. Some disjunct
populations in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina.
Sap should be collected in early spring, when daytime temperatures are above freezing
and nighttime temperatures are below.
Fun Facts
Other names include hard maple, rock maple
Each tree can produce between 5 and 60 gallons of sap each year.
Sugar maples are also important commercial as lumber for furniture, crates, veneers.
The process of syrup making was learned by English colonists from Native American
tribes in New England. Some tribes may have also boiled the seeds and made a kind
of flour by pounding the dried inner bark.