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Acer saccharum

Object Details

Description
A beautiful part of northeastern fall forests, sugar maples are best known for producing the sap used to make maple syrup. Various native groups used this tree and other maples to produce maple syrup, sugar, candy, vinegar, and beer long before colonials arrived. One such group, the Algonquians, concentrated maple sap by either heating stones and dropping them into buckets of sap, or leaving sap out overnight to freeze, and then taking the resulting layer of ice off the top. Native populations taught colonials which trees to use for sap. Colonials then adapted techniques to their technology.
A single sugar maple can produce 1 to 16 gallons of sap. This sap can then be concentrated either by boiling or reverse osmosis, with about 35-40 gallons of sap making 1 gallon of syrup. Maple sugaring is now an important industry in the US and Canada.
Hardiness
-40 - 20 F
Bloom Time
April
Ethnobotanical Uses
Primary tree used for syrup production
Provenance
Uncertain
Range
E. North America
Habitat
Mixed hardwood and conifer forest. 500-1700 meters.
Topic
Trees
Living Collections
See more items in
Smithsonian Gardens Tree Collection
On Display
Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Accession Number
2011-0049A
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Common Name
Sugar Maple
Hard Maple
Striped Maple
Rock Maple
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Rosanae
Order
Sapindales
Family
Sapindaceae
Genus
Acer
Species
saccharum
Life Form
Deciduous tree
Average Height
90-120'
Bark Characteristics
Twig: brown; young: smooth, gray-brown; mature: has thick, irregular, recureved plates
Dioecious
Mostly
Fall Color
Orange, red, yellow
Foliage Characteristics
Opposite, simple, palmate, star-shaped, lobed; 3-5 lobes, 4-8" long, many small teeth with 1-2 large teeth; green above, gray-white beneath
Fruit Characteristics
Samara, 1-3" long, brown, with nearly parallel upright or at acute angles
Key ID Characteristics
Terminal bud is prominent, hard, pointed, and dark brown; leaves are not as wide as A. platanoides; sap from broken stems of leaves is clear rather than milky, like that of A. platanoides.
Structure
Young: oval; mature: round
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax77190a0f5-a73a-40c9-9a56-5ce4a8dd3e0a
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2011-0049A
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
Photographed by: Hannele Lahti
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