Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Acer saccharum

Sugar maple, Northern sugar maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Acer saccharum (Sugar maple)
Simpson, Benny
Large tree with rounded, dense crown and striking, multicolored foliage in autumn. Sugar maple’s landscape size is 60-75 ft. but this popular hardwood can grow much taller in the wild. Bark is smooth in youth, becoming quite shaggy with age. Its straight, central trunk; wide-spreading branches; and pointed crown are all attractive landscape characteristics but are less noted than the species’ brilliant red, yellow and orange fall foliage. One of the best of the larger shade trees, sugar maple is Canada’s national tree, as represented by the maple leaf on its flag.

Maples, particularly Sugar Maple, are among the leading furniture woods. This species is used also for flooring, boxes and crates, and veneer. Some trees develop special grain patterns, including birdseye maple with dots suggesting the eyes of birds, and curly and fiddleback maple, with wavy annual rings. Such variations in grain are in great demand. The boiled concentrated sap is the commercial source of maple sugar and syrup, a use colonists learned from the Indians. Each tree yields between 5 and 60 gallons of sap per year; about 32 gallons of sap make 1 gallon of syrup or 4 1/2 pounds of sugar. One of the best of the larger shade trees. It is susceptible to salt. (Dirr)

Sugar maple is Canadas national tree, as represented by the maple leaf on the Canadian flag. (Kershaw)

Image Gallery:

44 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Green, Brown
Size Class: More than 100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NH , NJ , NY , NC , ND , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Nf., s. along mts. to n. GA, w. to MN & extreme e. KS
Native Habitat: Moist bottomlands; rich, wooded slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Sugar maple is suscetible to salt, excessive heat, and leaf scorch in drought. The dense shade and shallow roots of sugar maple may preclude growing lush grass under its canopy.


Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2013-06-27