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Scientific name: Anthophyta: Dicotyledonae: Sapindales: Aceraceae:
Common Name: Information Sheet, Sugar Maple
Photographer: E. M. Barrows
Identifier: E. M. Barrows
Please see “Information Sheet, Maples.”
Identification by leaves: please see “Information Sheet, Maples.”
General roles in forests. ASs are autotrophs that generally live in forests, forest edges, successional areas, and yards. Many kinds of organisms consume dead and living AS fruits, leaves, roots, and stems.
Specific roles in forests. AS is common in some forests, especially beech-maple forests; AS sometimes forms pure stands. Chipmunks, deer mice, some bird species, and squirrels eat AS seeds. White-tailed Deer often browse AS twigs during the cold season.
Human uses: Pioneers made soap from AS ashes. We use ASs as shade trees and tap them for maple syrup (Grimm 1957, 279). We often plant ASs along country roads and on private estates. American Indians (Algonkins, Ojibwas, and Wyandots) were the first people to make maple syrup and syrups from other trees, and pioneers learned this process from them starting in the 1700s (American Indian Heritage Garden, National Zoological Park, 2000). A large tree can yields up to 60 gallons of sap per year. About 32 gallons of sap make 1 gallon of syrup or 4.5 pounds of sugar. "Sugar bushes" (= maple groves) and their rustic "sugaring-off” houses are a familiar sight in many parts of the U.S. People tap the trees during late winter through early spring before their buds began to swell. Saps seems to flow best during cold frosty nights with mild daytime thaws.
ASs are popular planted trees because of their bright fall colors and rounded shapes. ASs are susceptible to injury from city gas and smoke.
AS a major timber tree. Humans make bobbins, boxes, cabinets, crates, cutting boards, flooring, furniture, gun stocks, musical instruments, plywood, novelties, shoe pegs, spools, turning (lathe work), veneer, and wall panels from AS wood. Some AS trees develop special grain patterns including birds-eye maple with dots suggesting the eyes of birds, and curly and fiddle-back maple, with wavy annual rings. These grain variations are in great demand.
Sugar Maples are an important part of the culture and economy of parts of Canada and the U.S. where they are common (Bell and Lindsey 1990, 92). Sugar Maple is the national tree of Canada and a red Sugar Maple leaf is on the Canadian flag.
General Robert E. Lee bought his famous horse, Traveller, under the Lee Maple Tree on Sewell Mt., WV. This AS died in the 1930s, sigh . . . .
SMITTY'S MAPLE LEAVES. “A fine confection. Ingredients: cane sugar, corn syrup, pure maple syrup and pure maple flavoring. Polish Mountain Maple Products, Inc. Flintstone, MD 21530. Smitty's old fashion Maple Leaves area still made just like Grandpa's. This firm confection gives you that delicious natural maply flavor for a good long time. So break a piece off and let it melt in your mouth. mmmm . . . Delicious!" For sale at Smoke Hole Caverns, WV.