Sugar Maple

Acer saccharum

Family Aceraceae


Notable Features
Leaves: Leaves are opposite*, with five lobes* and moderately deep sinuses*. Edges of the leaf are smooth and untoothed, and do not droop. The underside of the leaf is occasionally hairy, and usually a pale white color. The top of the leaf is a pale green, smooth, and hairless. Leaf stalks are long and slender, with relatively unswollen bases.
Twigs/Buds: Twigs are reddish-brown and glossy, and are covered in tiny, pointed, glossy and slender buds*.
Bark: The bark of the sugar maple is a light gray, traversed by numerous vertical groves and ridges. As the tree ages, the ends of these vertical plates will peel up and off the surface of the tree.
Flowers/ Keys: Pale yellow flowers appear April through June and hang in small clusters at the ends of branches and twigs. These clusters turn into keys*, 1 to 1¼ inches (2-3 centimeters) long, June through September. These keys, like the keys of the red maple, are at a small angle, somewhere under 90 degrees; reddish brown in color.
Size/Shape: A medium sized tree reaching heights of 40 to 60 feet (12-18 meters), with diameters of 1 to 2 feet (30-60 centimeters).

Location on Campus

(click for map)

A large group of Sugar Maples grows in the gardens on the opposite side of Chapel's Pond from Chapel's Field. There are also a few individuals growing around campus and in Sachar Woods.

Uses
Sugar Maples are the most common source of the sap used for making maple syrup, although the sap of almost any maple can be used as well. Additionally, most teas can be brewed in the unreduced sap as an alternative to sweetened water.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.