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Acer saccharinum (Silver maple)
Makin, Julie

Acer saccharinum

Acer saccharinum L.

Silver maple, Soft maple, White maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Synonym(s): Acer dasycarpum, Acer saccharinum var. laciniatum, Acer saccharinum var. wieri, Argentacer saccharinum

USDA Symbol: ACSA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Large tree with short, stout trunk, few large forks, spreading, open, irregular crown of long, curving branches, and graceful cut-leaves. A large canopy tree, 75-100 ft. tall, silver maple’s massive, ascending limbs form a graceful, oval or rounded crown. Plump, red flower buds are visible in winter and the first to bloom in spring. Deeply-cut, deciduous leaves are silvery underneath. Fall color ranges from yellow-brown to yellow tinged with bright red.

Its rapid growth makes Silver Maple a popular shade tree; however, its form is not generally pleasing, its brittle branches are easily broken in windstorms, and the abundant fruit produces litter. Sugar can be obtained from the sweetish sap, but yield is low. Landscape value should be tempered as it becomes a liability with age. Silver maple sap is only half as sweet as that of sugar maple (Acer saccharum), but with patient boiling it yields a delicious pale syrup.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Green, Brown
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. to e. Ont. & MN, s. to n.w. FL, e. OK & e. NE
Native Habitat: Rich bottomlands; moist hillsides; river banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Rich, wet to moist, slightly acid soils.

Benefit

Warning: Will cause sidewalks to buckle and drain tiles to clog. Should be considered in areas of poor soils where few other species will survive.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Acer saccharinum is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Cecropia silkmoth
(Hyalophora cecropia)

Food Source
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Description: Seed has no dormancy and germinates immediately after maturing. Treated softwood cuttings root readily.
Seed Collection: The winged fruit of maples is called a samara. Seed is usually not extracted from the samara.
Seed Treatment: For maximum germination, most maple species require a period of warm-moist stratification followed by cool stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC FACW FAC FACW FACW FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Acer saccharinum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acer saccharinum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acer saccharinum

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-06-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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