Sugar maple

Silhouette - sugar maple
  • Latin name: Acer saccharum Marsh.
  • French name: Érable à sucre
  • Synonym(s): Rock maple , hard maple
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 28731
  • NA3 , C4
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf - sugar maple

Form

  • 5 (occasionally 3) lobes
  • Tips long, blunt-pointed
  • Central lobe almost square
  • Central and lateral lobes separated by wide rounded notches
  • Lower surface hairless

Length

  • 8–20 cm

Width

  • Wider than long

Colour

  • Upper surface deep yellowish-green
  • Lower surface yellowish-green

Autumn colour

  • Yellow to bright orange to bright red

Margin

  • Teeth irregular, wavy  

Petiole

  • 4–8 cm long

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - sugar maple

Form

  • Terminal bud present
  • Narrowly cone-shaped
  • Sharp-pointed
  • 6–8 pairs of faintly hairy scales

Length

  • 6–12 mm

Colour

  • Medium to dark brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig - sugar maple

Form

  • Hairless, shiny

Colour

  • Reddish-brown to green

Flowers

Form

  • Without petals
  • 5 sepals
  • Drooping, tassel-like lateral (sometimes terminal) corymbs
  • Stalks slender

Length

  • Stalks 30–70 mm

Colour

  • Sepals greenish-yellow

Structure

  • Polygamo-monoecious

Floral timing

  • Before the leaves

Fruits

  • Fruit - sugar maple

Form

  • Wings slightly divergent
  • Seedcase plump
  • Keys in drooping clusters
  • Stalks slender
  • Paired keys often shed as a unit
  • Usually only one samara contains a viable seed
  • Seeds produced most years
  • Often germinate and have fully expanded cotyledons in early spring

Length

  • Wings 30–35 mm
  • Stalks usually longer than the wings

Structure

  • Samara
  • In joined pairs

Bark

Form

  • At first smooth
  • Dividing into long, vertical, firm, irregular ridges curling outward along one side
  • Occasionally somewhat scaly

Colour

  • Grey, becoming dark grey

Wood

Texture

  • Heavy, hard, strong

Colour

  • Light yellowish-brown

Morphology

  • Diffuse-porous
  • Rays easily visible

Figure

  • Often with a curly grain (bird’s-eye)

Uses

  • Furniture, toys, cabinetwork, veneer, plywood, flooring
  • Turned woodenware, cutting blocks

Size

Height

  • To 35 m

Diameter

  • To 90 cm

Maximum age

  • 200 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - sugar maple

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Straight
  • Often branch-free for two-thirds or more of its height

Crown

  • Narrow, round-topped

Root system

  • Deep, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Deep, fertile, moist, well-drained soils with some lime content
  • On the Canadian Shield, deep soils low in lime
  • Decomposing leaves enrich the soil by reducing the acidity and increasing the mineral content

Light tolerance

  • Tolerates heavy shade for many years
  • Grows normally when released by an opening in the canopy

Associated species

  • Usually mixed with other broadleaf species, as well as eastern white pine and eastern hemlock

Range

Maritime provinces, southern Ontario, and Quebec

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

General information

Sugarbush health and management - Insect pests
Poster to help identify the major defoliator insects of sugarbushes

Sugarbush health management - Injuries and defense mechanisms

Poster presenting types of injuries in sugarbushes and defense mechanisms of sugar maples

Sugarbush health management - Diseases

Poster to help identify some leaf, trunk and root diseases of sugar maples

Photos
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
  • Sugar maple
Distribution map
Distribution map - sugar maple
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