As a general rule, deciduous trees that exhibit deer resistance include Paw Paw, Black Tupelo, Mimosa, Red Maple, Japanese Maple, Black Locust, Sweetgum, Mulberry and Black Walnut.
The Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos, also known as the thorny locust, is a deciduous tree native to central North America. It is mostly found in the moist soil of river valleys ranging from southeastern South Dakota to New Orleans and central Texas, and as far east as eastern Massachusetts.
Honey locusts, Gleditsia triacanthos, can reach a height of 20–30 m (66–100 ft), with fast growth, and are relatively short-lived; their life spans are typically about 120 years, though some live up to 150 years. They are prone to losing large branches in windstorms. The leaves are pinnately compound on older trees but bipinnately compound on vigorous young trees. The leaflets are 1.5–2.5 cm (smaller on bipinnate leaves) and bright green. They turn yellow in the fall (autumn). Leafs out relatively late in spring, but generally slightly earlier than the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). The strongly scented cream-colored flowers appear in late spring, in clusters emerging from the base of the leaf axils.
The fruit of the Honey locust is a flat legume (pod) that matures in early autumn. The pods are generally between 15–20 cm. The pulp on the insides of the pods is edible, unlike the Black locust, which is toxic. The seeds are dispersed by grazing herbivores such as cattle and horses, which eat the pod pulp and excrete the seeds in droppings; the animal's digestive system assists in breaking down the hard seed coat, making germination easier. In addition, the seeds are released in the host's manure, providing fertilizer for them. Honey locust seed pods ripen in late spring and germinate rapidly when temperatures are warm enough.
Honey locusts commonly have thorns 3–10 cm long growing out of the branches, some reaching lengths over 20 cm; these may be single, or branched into several points, and commonly form dense clusters. The thorns are fairly soft and green when young, harden and turn red as they age, then fade to ash grey and turn brittle when mature. These thorns are thought to have evolved to protect the trees from browsing Pleistocene megafauna which may also have been involved in seed dispersal, but the size and spacing of them is useless in defending against smaller extant herbivores such as deer. Cattle and horses will eat the sweet-tasting seed pods and assist in dispersing them. In much of the Midwest, honey locust is considered a weed tree and a pest that establishes itself in farm fields. Thornless forms (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis) are occasionally found growing wild and are available as nursery plants.
Its cultivars are popular ornamental plants, especially in the northern plains of North America where few other trees can survive and prosper. It tolerates urban conditions, compacted soil, road salt, alkaline soil, heat and drought. The popularity is in part due to the fact that it transplants so easily. The fast growth rate and tolerance of poor site conditions make it valued in areas where shade is wanted quickly, such as new parks or housing developments, and in disturbed and reclaimed environments, such as mine tailings. It is resistant to Gypsy moths but is defoliated by another pest, the mimosa webworm. Spider mites, cankers, and galls are a problem with some trees. Many cultivated varieties do not have thorns.
Despite its name, the honey locust is not a significant honey plant. The name derives from the sweet taste of the legume pulp, which was used for food by Native American people, and can also be fermented to make beer. The long pods, which eventually dry and ripen to brown or maroon, are surrounded in a tough, leathery skin that adheres very strongly to the pulp within. The pulp—bright green in unripe pods—is strongly sweet, crisp and succulent in unripe pods. Dark brown tannin-rich beans are found in slots within the pulp.
Honey locusts produce a high quality, durable wood that polishes well, but the tree does not grow in sufficient numbers to support a bulk industry; however, a niche market exists for honey locust furniture. It is also used for posts and rails since it takes a long time to rot. In the past, the hard thorns of the younger trees have been used as nails.
The honey locust is popular with permaculturalists across the globe, for its multiple uses. The legumes make a valuable, high protein cattle fodder, which becomes more readily accessible with the thornless (inermis) variety. The broad shade of the tree canopy is of great value for livestock in hotter climates, such as Australia. It is also claimed to be a nitrogen fixer, by way of rhizobium, which benefits the surrounding soil and plants. The durability and quality of the timber, as well as the ability to produce its own nails, fits the paradigm of self-sustaining agriculture that requires fewer external inputs/resources.
Ranchers and farmers, though, do deem this species as invasive because it quickly can move into pastures and grazing lands out-competing grasses for living space.
The ability of Gleditsia to fix nitrogen is disputed. Many scientific sources clearly state that Gleditsia does not fix nitrogen. Some support this statement with the fact that Gleditsia does not form root nodules with symbiotic bacteria, the assumption being that without nodulation, no N-fixation can occur. In contrast, many popular sources, permaculture publications in particular, claim that Gleditsia does fix nitrogen but by some other mechanism.
There are anatomical, ecological and taxonomic indications to counter the assumption that only nodulating legumes fix nitrogen. Many non-nodulating species are as capable as nodulating species of growing well in nitrogen-limited soils and in some cases grow better. Also their leaf litter and seeds are higher in nitrogen than non-legumes [McKey, 1994; Waterman 1994] and sometimes higher even than nodulating legumes growing on the same site. How this happens is not yet well understood, but current research has recorded by-products of nitrogenase activity in non-nodulating leguminous plants including Gleditsia triacanthos. Also, electron microscopy indicates the presence of clusters around the inner cortex of roots, just outside the xylem, that resemble colonies of rhizobial bacterioids. These may well constitute the evolutionary precursors in legumes for nitrogen fixation through nodulation.
It is not known whether the kind of N-fixation implied by these discoveries benefits other plants in the vicinity, as is known to be the case with nodulating legumes. Gleditsia coppices readily, and it seems reasonable to assume that reduction in root mass in response to coppicing should liberate nutrients in the sloughed off roots into the soil, to the benefit of neighbouring plants.
The tree has been used in traditional Native American medicine. Extracts of Gleditsia possess important pharmacological activities in treating rheumatoid arthritis, as anti-mutagenic, anticancer and have significant cytotoxic activity against different cell lines. Seeds of Gleditsia triacanthos contain a trypsin inhibitor.
Philips, Roger. Trees of North America and Europe, Random House, Inc., New York ISBN 0-394-50259-0, 1979.
Acer saccharum (sugar maple) is a species of maple native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario, and south to Georgia and Texas. Sugar maple is best known for its bright fall foliage and for being the primary source of maple syrup.
Acer saccharum is a deciduous tree normally reaching heights of 25–35 m (82–115 ft) tall, and exceptionally up to 45 m (148 ft). A 10-year-old tree is typically about 5 m (16 ft) tall.
The leaves are deciduous, up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long and equally wide, with five palmate lobes. The basal lobes are relatively small, while the upper lobes are larger and deeply notched. In contrast with the angular notching of the silver maple, however, the notches tend to be rounded at their interior. The fall color is often spectacular, ranging from bright yellow through orange to fluorescent red-orange, although they look best in the northern part of its range. Sugar maples also have a tendency to color unevenly in fall. In some trees, all colors above can be seen at the same time. They also share a tendency with red maples for certain parts of a mature tree to change color weeks ahead of or behind the remainder of the tree. The leaf buds are pointy and brown-colored. The recent year's growth twigs are green, and turn dark brown.
The flowers are in corymbs of five to 10 together, yellow-green and without petals; flowering occurs in early spring after 30-55 growing degree days. The sugar maple will generally begin flowering when it is between 10 to 15 years old. The fruit is a double samara with two winged seeds, the seeds are globose, 7–10 mm (0.28–0.39 in) in diameter, the wing 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) long. The seeds fall from the tree in autumn, where they must be exposed to 90 days of sub-40°F temperatures to break their coating down. Germination of A. saccharum is slow, not taking place until the following spring when the soil has warmed and all frost danger is past.
It is closely related to the black maple, which is sometimes included in this species, but sometimes separated as Acer nigrum. The western American bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum) is also treated as a variety or subspecies of sugar maple by some botanists.
The sugar maple is also often confused with the Norway maple, though they are not closely related within the genus. The sugar maple is most easily identified by clear sap in the leaf petiole (the Norway maple has white sap), brown, sharp-tipped buds (the Norway maple has blunt, green or reddish-purple buds), and shaggy bark on older trees (the Norway maple bark has small grooves). Also, the leaf lobes of the sugar maple have a more triangular shape, in contrast to the squarish lobes of the Norway maple.
Although many people think a red sugar maple leaf is featured on the flag of Canada, the official maple leaf does not belong to any particular maple tree. Instead, it was specially designed to be as identifiable as possible on a flag waving in the wind.
The sugar maple is an extremely important species to the ecology of many forests in North America. Pure stands are common, and it is a major component of the northern and central U.S. hardwood forests. In the north, it forms associations of beech-maple and sugar maple-yellow birch, which is most important beyond the northern limit of beech. Sugar maple-American basswood, sugar maple-white ash and sugar maple-ironwood--red oak are also common forest associations.
Sugar maple is among the most shade tolerant of large deciduous trees. Among North American maples, its shade tolerance is exceeded only by the striped maple, a smaller tree. Like other maples, its shade tolerance is manifested in its ability to germinate and persist under a closed canopy as an understory plant, and respond with rapid growth to the increased light formed by a gap in the canopy. The sugar maple can grow comfortably in any type of soil except sand.
Sugar maples engage in hydraulic lift, drawing water from lower soil layers and exuding that water into upper, drier soil layers. This not only benefits the tree itself, but also many other plants growing around it. However, like most climax forest species, sugar maple is not well-suited for landscaping due to its large size, relatively slow growth, and dense network of fibrous surface roots which can make gardening under it difficult due to their monopolization of moisture and soil nutrients.
Human influences have contributed to the decline of the sugar maple in many regions. Its role as a species of mature forests has led it to be replaced by more opportunistic species in areas where forests are cut over. The sugar maple also exhibits a greater susceptibility to pollution than other species of maple. Acid rain and soil acidification are some of the primary contributing factors to maple decline. Also, the increased use of salt over the last several decades on streets and roads for deicing purposes has decimated the sugar maple's role as a "street-front" tree.
In some parts of eastern North America, particularly near urbanized areas, the sugar maple is being displaced by the Norway maple. The Norway maple is also highly shade tolerant, but is considerably more tolerant of urban conditions, resulting in the sugar maple's replacement in those areas heavily disturbed by human activities. In addition, Norway maple produces much larger crops of seeds, allowing it to out-compete native species.
The sugar maple is one of the most important Canadian trees, being, with the black maple, the major source of sap for making maple syrup. Other maple species can be used as a sap source for maple syrup, but some have lower sugar contents and/or produce more cloudy syrup than these two.
The wood is one of the hardest and densest of the maples, 740 kg/m3 (46 lb/cu ft), and is prized for furniture and flooring. The sapwood can be white in color, and smaller logs may have a higher proportion of this desirable wood. Bowling alleys and bowling pins are both commonly manufactured from sugar maple. Trees with wavy woodgrain, which can occur in curly, quilted, and "birdseye maple" forms, are especially valued. Maple is also the wood used for basketball courts, including the floors used by the NBA, and it is a popular wood for baseball bats, along with white ash. It is also widely used in the manufacture of musical instruments, such as the members of the violin family (sides and back), guitars (neck), and drum shells. It is also quite flexible and makes excellent archery bows.
Canadian maple, often referred to as "Canadian hardrock maple", is prized for pool cues, especially pool cue shafts, and the highest grades of this white wood are used by virtually all (both production line and custom hand-made) cue makers to make high-quality shafts. Some production-line cues will use lower-quality Canadian maple wood with cosmetic issues, such as "sugar marks", which are (most often) light brown discolorations visible on the shaft caused by sap in the wood. Great shaft wood has a very consistent grain, and no marks or discoloration. Sugar marks usually do not affect how the cue plays, but are not as high quality as those without it. This wood is also used in skateboard decks for its strength.
The sugar maple was a favorite street and park tree during the 19th century because it was easy to propagate and transplant, is fairly fast-growing, and has beautiful fall color. As noted above however, it proved too delicate to continue in that role after the rise of automobile-induced pollution and was replaced by Acer Platanoides and other hardier species. The shade and the shallow, fibrous roots may interfere with grass growing under the trees. Deep, well-drained loam is the best rooting medium, although sugar maples can grow well on sandy soil which does not become excessively dry. Light (or loose) clay soils are also well known to support sugar maple growth. Poorly drained areas are unsuitable, and the species is especially short-lived on flood-prone clay flats. Its salt tolerance is low and it is very sensitive to boron.
The sugar maple is the state tree of the US states of New York, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The sugar maple is depicted on the state quarter of Vermont, issued in 2001.
Acer saccharinum, commonly known as silver maple, creek maple, silverleaf maple, soft maple, water maple, swamp maple, or white maple—is a species of maple native to eastern North America in the eastern United States and Canada. It is one of the most common trees in the United States.
The silver maple is a relatively fast-growing deciduous tree, commonly reaching a height of 15–25 m (50–80 ft), exceptionally 35 m (115 ft). Its spread will generally be 11–15 m (35–50 ft) wide. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 8 m (25 ft) tall. It is often found along waterways and in wetlands, leading to the colloquial name "water maple". It is a highly adaptable tree, although it has higher sunlight requirements than other maples.
The leaves are palmate, 8–16 cm long and 6–12 cm broad, with deep angular notches between the five lobes. The 5–12 cm long, slender stalks of the leaves mean that even a light breeze can produce a striking effect as the silver undersides of the leaves are exposed. The autumn color is less pronounced than in many maples, generally ending up a pale yellow, although some specimens can produce a more brilliant yellow and even orange and red colorations. The tree has a tendency to color and drop its leaves slightly earlier in autumn than other maples.
The flowers are in small panicles, produced before the leaves in early spring, with the seeds maturing in early summer. The seeds are winged, in pairs, small (5–10 mm diameter), the wing about 3–5 cm long. Although the wings provide for some transport by air, the seeds are heavy and are also transported by water. The seeds are the largest of any native maple.
On mature trunks, the bark is gray and shaggy. On branches and young trunks, the bark is smooth and silvery gray.
Wildlife uses the silver maple in various ways. In many parts of the eastern U.S., the large rounded buds are one of the primary food sources for squirrels during the spring, after many acorns and nuts have sprouted and the squirrels' food is scarce. The seeds are also a food source for squirrels, chipmunks and birds. The bark can be eaten by beaver and deer. The trunks tend to produce cavities, which can shelter squirrels, raccoons, opossums, owls and woodpeckers.
Native Americans used the sap of wild trees to make sugar, as medicine, and in bread. They used the wood to make baskets and furniture.
Today the wood can be used as pulp for making paper. Lumber from the tree is used in furniture, cabinets, flooring, musical instruments, crates and tool handles, because it is light and easily worked. Because of the silver maple's fast growth, it is a potential source of biofuels. Silver maple produces a sweet sap, but it is generally not used by commercial sugarmakers because of the low sugar content.
The silver maple is often planted as an ornamental tree because of its rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. It is highly tolerant of urban situations, which is why it is frequently planted next to streets. But it has brittle wood, and is commonly damaged in storms. The roots are shallow and fibrous and easily invade septic fields and old drain pipes and can also crack sidewalks and foundations. It is a vigorous resprouter, and if not pruned, it will often grow with multiple trunks. Although it naturally is found near water, it can grow on drier ground if planted there.
It is also commonly cultivated outside its native range, showing tolerance of a wide range of climates, growing successfully as far north as central Norway and south to Orlando, Florida. It can thrive in a Mediterranean climate, as at Jerusalem and Los Angeles, if summer water is provided. It is also grown in temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere: Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, the southern states of Brazil, as well as in a few lower temperature locations within the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, (also in Brazil).][
The silver maple is closely related to the red maple (Acer rubrum), and can hybridise with it, the hybrid being known as the Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii). The Freeman maple is a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, combining the fast growth of silver maple with the less brittle wood and less invasive roots of the red maple.
The silver maple is the favoured host of the parasitic cottony maple scale.][ and the maple bladder gall mite Vasates quadripedes.
In the English Christmas carol, "Wassail, Wassail All Over the Town", the "white maple" in "Our bowl, it is made of the white maple tree" refers not to the silver (white) maple but the wood of the sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus.
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) is a species of maple native to eastern and central Europe and southwest Asia, from France east to Russia, north to southern Scandinavia and southeast to northern Iran.
It is a deciduous tree, growing to 20–30 m (66–98 ft) tall with a trunk up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in diameter, and a broad, rounded crown. The bark is grey-brown and shallowly grooved; unlike many other maples, mature trees do not tend to develop a shaggy bark. The shoots are green at first, soon becoming pale brown; the winter buds are shiny red-brown.
The leaves are opposite, palmately lobed with five lobes, 7–14 cm (2.8–5.5 in) long and 8–20 cm (3.1–7.9 in) (rarely 25 cm (9.8 in)) across; the lobes each bear one to three side teeth, and an otherwise smooth margin. The leaf petiole is 8–20 cm (3.1–7.9 in) long, and secretes a milky juice when broken. The autumn colour is usually yellow, occasionally orange-red.
The flowers are in corymbs of 15–30 together, yellow to yellow-green with five sepals and five petals 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) long; flowering occurs in early spring before the new leaves emerge. The fruit is a double samara with two winged seeds; the seeds are disc-shaped, strongly flattened, 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) across and 3 mm (0.12 in) thick. The wings are 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) long, widely spread, approaching a 180° angle. It typically produces a large quantity of viable seeds.
Under ideal conditions in its native range, Norway Maple may live up to 250 years, but often has a much shorter life expectancy in North America, sometimes only 60 years. Especially when used on streets, it can have insufficient space for its root network and is prone to the roots wrapping around themselves, girdling and killing the tree. Norway Maples often cause significant damage and cleanup costs for municipalities and homeowners when branches break off in storms as it is fast-growing and does not have strong wood.
The Norway maple is a member (and is the type species) of the section Platanoidea Pax, characterised by flattened, disc-shaped seeds and the shoots and leaves containing milky sap. Other related species in this section include Acer campestre (field maple), Acer cappadocicum (Cappadocian maple), Acer lobelii (Lobel's maple), and Acer truncatum (Shandong maple). From the field Maple, the Norway maple is distinguished by its larger leaves with pointed, not blunt, lobes, and from the other species by the presence of one or more teeth on all of the lobes.
It is also frequently confused with the more distantly related Acer saccharum (sugar maple). The sugar maple is easy to identify by clear sap in the petiole (Norway maple has white sap). The tips of the points on Norway maple leaves reduce to a fine "hair", while the tips of the points on sugar maple leaves are, on close inspection, rounded. On mature trees, sugar maple bark is more shaggy, while Norway maple bark has small, often criss-crossing grooves. While the shape and angle of leaf lobes vary somewhat within all maple species, the leaf lobes of Norway maple tend to have a more triangular shape, in contrast to the more squarish lobes often seen on sugar maples. The seeds of sugar maple are globose, while Norway maple seeds are flattened. The sugar maple usually has a brighter orange autumn color, where the Norway maple is usually yellow, although some of the red-leaved cultivars appear more orange.
The tree tends to leaf out earlier than most maples and holds its leaves somewhat longer in autumn. Seeds begin forming in mid-spring and ripen over the course of the summer months, finally dropping in the fall. Unlike some other maples that wait for the soil to warm up, A. platanoides seeds require only three months of exposure to sub-40°F temperatures and will sprout in early spring. The heavy seed crop and high germination rate contributes to its invasiveness in North America, where it forms dense monotypic stands that choke out native vegetation. It is one of the few introduced species that can successfully invade and colonize a virgin forest. By comparison, in its native range, Norway Maple is rarely a dominant species and instead occurs mostly as a scattered understory tree.
The wood is hard, yellowish-white to pale reddish, with the heartwood not distinct; it is used for furniture and turnery.
Norway Maple has been widely placed into cultivation in other areas, including western Europe northwest of its native range. It grows north of the Arctic Circle at Tromsø, Norway. In North America, it is planted as a street and shade tree as far north as Anchorage, Alaska, having been first introduced from Europe in the 18th century. During the 1950s-60s, they became popular as a street tree due to the large-scale loss of American Elms from Dutch Elm Disease. It is favored due to its tall trunk and tolerance of poor, compacted soils and urban pollution, conditions that Sugar Maple cannot grow in. Because of Norway Maple's invasive nature, it has been recommended that London Plane (a hybrid of American and European Sycamore) be used instead as a pollution-tolerant native tree.
It has become a popular species for bonsai in Europe and is used for medium to large bonsai sizes and a multitude of styles.
Like all Acer species, Norway Maple may be tapped for syrup, although this is seldom done due to its low sugar content.
Many cultivars have been selected for distinctive leaf shapes or colorations, such as the dark purple of 'Crimson King' and 'Schwedleri', the variegated leaves of 'Drummondii', the light green of 'Emerald Queen', and the deeply divided, feathery leaves of 'Dissectum' and 'Lorbergii'. The purple-foliage cultivars have orange to red autumn colour. 'Columnare' is selected for its narrow upright growth, and 'Pendulum' for its weeping habit.
The cultivar 'Crimson King' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
The roots of Norway maples grow very close to the ground surface, starving other plants of moisture. For example, lawn grass (and even weeds) will usually not grow well beneath a Norway maple, but English Ivy, with its minimal rooting needs, may thrive. In addition, the dense canopy of Norway maples can inhibit understory growth. Some have suggested Norway maples may also release chemicals to discourage undergrowth, although this is controversial.
A. platanoides has been shown to inhibit the growth of native saplings as a canopy tree or as a sapling. The Norway maple also suffers less herbivory than the sugar maple, allowing it to gain a competitive advantage against the latter species.
As a result of these characteristics, it is considered invasive in some states, and has been banned in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The State of New York has classified it as an invasive plant species.
The Norway maple is one of three species Meijer Garden Centers no longer sell; Meijer made this decision due to the tree's invasive nature. Despite these steps, the species is still available and widely used for urban plantings in many areas.
The Norway maple is threatened in a few areas by the Asian long-horned beetle, which eats through the trunks, often killing the trees.
A number of species of Lepidoptera feed on Norway maple foliage. Norway maple is generally free of serious diseases, though can be attacked by the powdery mildew Uncinula bicornis, and verticillium wilt disease caused by Verticillium spp. "Tar spots" caused by Rhytisma acerinum infection are common but largely harmless.
Aceria pseudoplatani is a acarine mite that causes a 'Felt Gall' that is found on the underside of leaves of both Sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) and Norway Maple (Acer platanoides),
A mature tree in Belgium, with exceptionally rough bark for this species
An example of orange-red fall colour; few trees produce such a rich colour, but are dull yellow at best
Tree in flower
Foliage and fruit; the fruit are an important characteristic for identification of this species
Fruit (samara): note the flat seed capsule and the angle of the "wings"
Acer platanoides cv. Schwedleri
See speciesAcerList of
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.
Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in Sapindaceae. The type species of the genus is Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore maple).
There are approximately 128 species, most of which are native to Asia, with a number also appearing in Europe, northern Africa, and North America. Only one species, the poorly studied Acer laurinum, is native to the Southern Hemisphere. Fifty-four species of maples meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria for being under threat of extinction in their native habitat.
The word Acer derives from a Latin word meaning "sharp" (compare "acerbic"), referring to the characteristic points on maple leaves. It was first applied to the genus by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1700. The earliest known fossil maple is Acer alaskense, from the Latest Paleocene of Alaska.
Most maples are trees growing to 10 – 45 m (30 – 145 ft) in height. Others are shrubs less than 10 metres tall with a number of small trunks originating at ground level. Most species are deciduous, but a few in southern Asia and the Mediterranean region are evergreen. Most are shade-tolerant when young and are often riparian, understory, or pioneer species rather than climax overstory trees with a few exceptions such as Sugar Maple. Many of the root systems are typically dense and fibrous, inhibiting the growth of other vegetation underneath them. A few species, notably Acer cappadocicum, frequently produce root sprouts, which can develop into clonal colonies.
Maples are distinguished by opposite leaf arrangement. The leaves in most species are palmate veined and lobed, with 3 to 9 (rarely to 13) veins each leading to a lobe, one of which is central or apical. A small number of species differ in having palmate compound, pinnate compound, pinnate veined or unlobed leaves. Several species, including Acer griseum (Paperbark maple); Acer mandshuricum (Manchurian maple); Acer maximowiczianum (Nikko maple); and Acer triflorum (Three-flowered maple), have trifoliate leaves. One species, Acer negundo (Box-elder), has pinnately compound leaves that may be simply trifoliate or may have five, seven, or rarely nine leaflets. A few, such as Acer laevigatum (Nepal maple) and Acer carpinifolium (Hornbeam maple), have pinnately veined simple leaves.
The flowers are regular, pentamerous, and borne in racemes, corymbs, or umbels. They have four or five sepals, four or five petals about 1 – 6 mm long (absent in some species), four to ten stamens about 6 – 10 mm long, and two pistils or a pistil with two styles. The ovary is superior and has two carpels, whose wings elongate the flowers, making it easy to tell which flowers are female. Maples flower in late winter or early spring, in most species with or just after the appearance of the leaves, but in some before the trees leaf out.
Maple flowers are green, yellow, orange or red. Though individually small, the effect of an entire tree in flower can be striking in several species. Some maples are an early spring source of pollen and nectar for bees.
The distinctive fruit are called samaras, "maple keys", "whirlybirds" or "polynoses". These seeds occur in distinctive pairs each containing one seed enclosed in a "nutlet" attached to a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue. They are shaped to spin as they fall and to carry the seeds a considerable distance on the wind. Children often call them "helicopters" due to the way that they spin as they fall. During World War II, the US Army developed a special air drop supply carrier that could carry up to 65 pounds of supplies and was based on the Maple seed. Seed maturation is usually in a few weeks to six months after flowering, with seed dispersal shortly after maturity. However, one tree can release hundreds of thousands of seeds at a time. Depending on the species, the seeds can be small and green to orange and big with thicker seed pods. The green seeds are released in pairs, sometimes with the stems still connected. The yellow seeds are released individually and almost always without the stems. Most species require stratification in order to germinate, and some seeds can remain dormant in the soil for several years before germinating.
The genus is subdivided by its morphology into a multitude of sections and subsections.
The leaves are used as a food plant for the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species (see List of Lepidoptera that feed on maples). Aphids are also very common sap-feeders on maples. In horticultural applications a dimethoate spray will solve this.
In the United States and Canada, all maple species are threatened by the Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis). Infestations have resulted in the destruction of thousands of maples and other tree species in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
Maples are affected by a number of fungal diseases. Several are susceptible to Verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium species, which can cause significant local mortality. Sooty bark disease, caused by Cryptostroma species, can kill trees which are under stress due to drought. Death of maples can rarely be caused by Phytophthora root rot and Ganoderma root decay. Maple leaves in late summer and autumn are commonly disfigured by "tar spot" caused by Rhytisma species and mildew caused by Uncinula species, though these diseases do not usually have an adverse effect on the trees' long-term health.
A maple leaf is on the coat of arms of Canada, and is on the Canadian flag. The maple is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries including Canada. Maple leaves are traditionally an important part of Canadian Forces military regalia, for example the military rank insignas for generals use maple leaf symbols. In the literary world, the word maple was first published in Geoffery Chaucer's "The Knights Tale" on line 2,065, spelled as "mapul".
Maples are extensively planted as ornamental trees by homeowners, businesses and municipalities due to their relatively fast growth, ease of transplanting, and lack of hard seeds that would pose a problem for mowing lawns. Particularly popular are Norway Maple (although it is considered invasive in North America), Silver Maple, Japanese Maple, and Red Maple. Other maples, especially smaller or more unusual species, are popular as specimen trees.
Numerous maple cultivars which have been selected for particular characteristics can be propagated only by asexual reproduction such as cuttings, tissue culture, budding or grafting. Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) alone has over 1,000 cultivars, most selected in Japan, and many of them no longer propagated or not in cultivation in the Western world. Some delicate cultivars are usually grown in pots and rarely reach heights of more than 50–100 cm.
Maples are a popular choice for the art of bonsai. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), Trident maple (A. buergerianum), Amur maple (A. ginnala), Field maple (A. campestre) and Montpellier maple (A. monspessulanum) are popular choices and respond well to techniques that encourage leaf reduction and ramification, but most species can be used.
Maple collections, sometimes called aceretums, occupy space in many gardens and arboreta around the world including the "five great W's" in England: Wakehurst Place Garden, Westonbirt Arboretum, Windsor Great Park, Winkworth Arboretum and Wisley Garden. In the United States, the aceretum at the Harvard-owned Arnold Arboretum in Boston is especially notable. In the number of species and cultivars, the Esveld Aceretum in Boskoop, Netherlands is the largest in the world.
Many maples have bright autumn foliage, and many countries have leaf-watching traditions. In Japan, the custom of viewing the changing colour of maples in the autumn is called "momijigari". Nikko and Kyoto are particularly favoured destinations for this activity. In addition, in Korea, the same viewing activity is called "Danpung-Nori" and the Seoraksan and Naejang-san mountains are very famous places for it.
The Acer saccharum (sugar maple) are a contributor to seasonal Fall tourism in North America, particularly in Central Ontario, Québec, Vermont, New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts.
Maples are important as source of syrup and wood. Dried wood is often used for the smoking of food. Charcoal from maples is an integral part of the Lincoln County Process used to make Tennessee Whiskey. They are also cultivated as ornamental plants and have benefits for tourism and agriculture.
The Sugar maple (A. saccharum) is tapped for sap, which is then boiled to produce maple syrup or made into maple sugar or maple taffy. It takes about 40 litres (42 US qt) of sugar maple sap to make 1 litre (1.1 US qt) of syrup. While any Acer species may be tapped for syrup, many do not have sufficient quantities of sugar to be commercially useful.
Some of the larger maple species have valuable timber, particularly Sugar maple in North America, and Sycamore maple in Europe. Sugar maple wood — often known as "hard maple" — is the wood of choice for bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts, and butcher's blocks. Maple wood is also used for the manufacture of wooden baseball bats, though less often than ash or hickory due to the tendency of maple bats to shatter when broken. The maple bat was introduced to Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1998 by Sam Holman of Sam Bats. Today it is the standard maple bat most in use by professional baseball. Maple is also commonly used in archery as the core material in the limbs of a Recurve Bow due to its stiffness and strength.
Maple wood is often graded based on physical and aesthetic characteristics. The most common terminology includes the grading scale from common #2 which is unselected, and often used for craft woods, common #1 used for commercial and residential buildings, Clear, and select grade which sought out for fine woodworking.
Some maple wood has a highly decorative wood grain, known as flame maple, quilt maple, birdseye maple and burl wood. This condition occurs randomly in individual trees of several species, and often cannot be detected until the wood has been sawn, though it is sometimes visible in the standing tree as a rippled pattern in the bark.
These select decorative wood pieces also have subcategories which further filter the aesthetic looks. Crotch Wood, Bees Wing, Cats Paw, Old Growth and Mottled are some terms used to describe the look of these decorative woods.
Maples have a long history of use for furniture production in United States.
Maple is considered a tonewood, or a wood that carries sound waves well, and is used in numerous musical instruments. Maple is harder and has a brighter sound than Mahogany, which is another major tonewood used in instrument manufacture.
The back, sides, and neck of most violins, violas, cellos, and double basses are made from maple.
Electric guitar necks are commonly made from maple, having a brighter sound than rosewood. The necks of the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster were originally an entirely maple one piece neck, but later were also available with rosewood fingerboards. Les Paul desired an all maple guitar, but due to the weight of maple, only the tops of Gibson's Les Paul guitars are made from carved maple, often using quilted or flamed maple tops. Due to its weight, very few solid body guitars are made entirely from maple, but many guitars have maple necks, tops or veneers.
Maple is also often used to make bassoons and sometimes for other woodwind instruments.
Many drums are made from maple. From the 70s to the 90s, maple drum kits were a vast majority of all drum kits made, but in recent years, Birch has become popular for drums once again. Some of the best drum-building companies use maple extensively throughout their mid-pro range. Maple drums are favored for their bright resonant sound.
As they are a major source of pollen in early spring before many other plants have flowered, maples are important to the survival of honeybees that play a commercially important role later in the spring and summer.
Maple is used as pulpwood. The fibers have relatively thick walls that prevents collapsing upon drying. This gives good bulk and opacity in paper. Maple also gives paper with good printing properties.
Acer cappadocicum (Cappadocian maple)
Acer carpinifolium leaves
Acer freemanii 'Autumn Blaze' (a cross between Acer rubrum and Acer saccharinum
Acer macrophyllum flowers and young leaves
Acer laevigatum leaves and fruit
Acer sempervirens foliage
Acer ginnala foliage
Acer palmatum trees and bamboo in Japan
Acer grandidentatum (Bigtooth Maple) in autumn colour
Acer platanoides leaf
Acer palmatum leaf in autumn
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) samaras
Liquidambar, commonly called sweetgum (sweet gum in the UK), gum, redgum, satin-walnut, or American storax, is a genus of five species of flowering plants in the family Altingiaceae, though formerly often treated in the Hamamelidaceae. They are all large, deciduous trees, 25–40 metres (82–130 ft) tall, with palmately 3- to 7-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems and length of 12.5 to 20 centimetres (4.9 to 7.9 in), having a pleasant aroma when crushed. Mature bark is grayish and vertically grooved. The flowers are small, produced in a dense globular inflorescence 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) diameter, pendulous on a 3–7 centimetres (1.2–2.8 in) stem. The fruit is a woody multiple capsule 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.6 in) in diameter (popularly called a "gumball"), containing numerous seeds and covered in numerous prickly, woody armatures, possibly to attach to fur of animals. The woody biomass is classified as hardwood. In more northerly climates, sweetgum is among the last of trees to leaf out in the spring, and also among the last of trees to drop its leaves in the fall, turning multiple colors. Although a temperate species, at least one living Liquidambar tree survives in a hot and humid tropical city: Bangkok, Thailand.
Both the Latin and common names refer to the sweet resinous sap exuded by the trunk when cut.
The genus was much more widespread in the Tertiary, but has disappeared from Europe due to extensive glaciation in the north and the Alps, which has served as a blockade against southward migration. It has also disappeared from western North America due to climate change, and also from the unglaciated (but nowadays too cold) Russian Far East. There are several fossil species of Liquidambar, showing its relict status today.
The wood is used for furniture, interior finish, paper pulp, veneers and baskets of all kinds. The heartwood once was used in furniture, sometimes as imitation mahogany or Circassian walnut. It is used widely today in flake and strand boards. Sweetgum is a foodplant for various Lepidoptera caterpillars, such as the gypsy moth. The American Sweetgum is widely planted as an ornamental, not only within its natural range.
The hardened sap, or gum resin, excreted from the wounds of the Sweetgum, for example the American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), can be chewed on like chewing gum and has been long used for this purpose in Southern United States. The sap was also believed to be a cure for sciatica, weakness of nerves, etc.
In Chinese herbal medicine, lu lu tong, or "all roads open," is the hard, spiky fruit of native sweetgum species. It first appeared in the medical literature in Omissions from the Materia Medica, by Chen Cangqi, in 720 AD. Bitter in taste, aromatic, and neutral in temperature, lu lu tong promotes the movement of blood and Qi, water metabolism and urination, expels wind, and unblocks the channels. It is an ingredient in formulas for epigastric distention or abdominal pain, anemia, irregular or scanty menstruation, low back or knee pain and stiffness, edema with difficult urination, or nasal congestion.
Foliage of Liquidambar orientalis
Sweetgum seed pods in Michigan during winter
Closeup on a sweetgum seed pod
Acer ginnala (Amur Maple) is a plant species with woody stems native to northeastern Asia from easternmost Mongolia east to Korea and Japan, and north to southeastern Siberia in the Amur River valley. It is a small Maple with deciduous leaves that is sometimes grown as a garden subject or boulevard tree.
Acer ginnala is a deciduous spreading shrub or small tree growing to 3–10 m tall, with a short trunk up to 20–40 cm diameter and slender branches. The bark is thin, dull gray-brown, and smooth at first but becoming shallowly fissured on old plants. The leaves are opposite and simple, 4–10 cm long and 3-6 wide, deeply palmately lobed with three or five lobes, of which two small basal lobes (sometimes absent) and three larger apical lobes; the lobes are coarsely and irregularly toothed, and the upper leaf surface glossy. The leaves turn brilliant orange to red in autumn, and are on slender, often pink-tinged, petioles 3–5 cm long. The flowers are yellow-green, 5–8 mm diameter, produced in spreading panicles in spring as the leaves open. The fruit is a paired reddish samara, 8–10 mm long with a 1.5–2 cm wing, maturing in late summer to early autumn.
Amur Maple is closely related to Acer tataricum (Tatar Maple), and some botanists treat it as a subspecies A. tataricum subsp. ginnala (Maxim.) Wesm.) They differ conspicuously in the glossy, deeply lobed leaves of A. ginnala, compared to the matte, unlobed or only shallowly lobed leaves of A. tataricum.
Acer ginnala is grown as an ornamental plant in northern regions of Europe and North America, where it is the most cold-tolerant maple, hardy to zone 2. It is naturalised in parts of North America.
In the UK it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
It is also valued in Japan and elsewhere as a species suitable for bonsai. It is a nonnative invasive species in parts of northern America.
Flora of North America
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as houseplants, for cut flowers and specimen display. The cultivation of these, called floriculture, forms a major branch of horticulture.
Most commonly ornamental garden plants are grown for the display of aesthetic features including: flowers, leaves, scent, overall foliage texture, fruit, stem and bark, and aesthetic form. In some cases, unusual features may be considered to be of interest, such as the prominent and rather vicious thorns of Rosa sericea and cacti. In all cases, their purpose is for the enjoyment of gardeners, visitors, and/or the public.
Flora of the United States
The Flora of North America North of Mexico (usually referred to as FNA) is a multivolume work describing the native plants of North America. Much of the Flora is already available online. It is expected to fill 30 volumes when completed, and will be the first work to treat all of the known flora north of Mexico.
It is a collaboration of over 800 authors, who collaborate over the web.
The native flora of the United States includes about 17,000 species of vascular plants, plus tens of thousands of additional species of other plants and plant-like organisms such as algae, lichens and other fungi, and mosses. About 3,800 additional non-native species of vascular plants are recorded as established outside of cultivation in the U.S., as well as a much smaller number of non-native non-vascular plants and plant relatives. The United States possesses one of the most diverse temperate floras in the world, comparable only to that of China.]citation needed[
Several biogeographic factors contribute to the richness and diversity of the U.S. flora. While most of the United States has a temperate climate, Alaska has vast arctic areas, the southernmost part of Florida is subtropical to tropical, Hawaii is fully tropical (including high mountains), and alpine summits are present on many western mountains, as well as a few in the Northeast. The U.S. coastline borders three oceans: The Atlantic (and Gulf of Mexico), the Arctic, and the Pacific. Finally, the U.S. shares long borders with Canada and Mexico, and is relatively close to the Bahamas, Cuba and other Caribbean islands, and easternmost Asia.