Acer saccharum Marshall
Sugar Maple, Northern Sugar Maple
Aceraceae (Maple Family)
USDA Symbol: acsa3
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)
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Green, Brown
Size Class: More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Honey Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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.
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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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 980 - Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses (1998) Dirr, M. A.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 1258 - Trees of Ontario (2007) Kershaw, Linda
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Acer saccharum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acer saccharum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acer saccharum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-06-27
Research By: TWC Staff