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Acer saccharum (Sugar maple)
Makin, Julie

Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum Marshall

Sugar Maple, Northern Sugar Maple

Aceraceae (Maple Family)


USDA Symbol: ACSA3

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

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 Canada's national tree, as represented by the maple leaf"" on the Canadian flag. (Kershaw)"


From the Image Gallery

40 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: Up to about 100 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Green, Brown

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
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: Dry , Moist
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

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Honey Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagation is possible by seed. Not considered easy to root from cuttings.
Seed Collection: As soon as samaras turn yellowish or reddish brown and the seeds inside are firm, filled out, and dark brown. Best to gather from the tree as seeds that have already dropped lose viability quickly and are easily infested. Seed is usually not extracted from the samara. Keep in cold, moist storage.
Seed Treatment: Cold stratify in a moist sand or peat/perlite mixture for 60-90 days.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Are black walnut and sugar maple poisonous to alpacas
June 09, 2008
I have alpacas and wonder if black walnut or sugar maple are poisonous to them.
view the full question and answer

Seed germination for sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
December 15, 2007
How can I germinate sugar maple?(step by step, please) I have some seeds but can't make them grow directly outside, so could you recommend a method which takes place inside?! I've heard something ab...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

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 Organizations Directory

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

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2021-03-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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