Sugar Maple

Acer saccharum Sapindaceae

Other names

Hard Maple, Rock Maple

Growth habit


Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region, North America, E of Rockies


Prefers gravely calcareous soils and a cool micro-climate.


Keep seeds moist and at room temperature for best germination. Sow promptly.

Biocultural value

Important as the source of maple syrup. Maple sap has been used as a spring tonic by some Indigenous communities that didn’t make sugar from it. Indigenous peoples also have used the inner bark brewed into tea for cough. Nutrients found in maple syrup include sugars, calcium, potassium, sodium and trace amounts of copper and iron.


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Cornell Class of 1938 Native Maple Slope, Bald Hill and Caroline Pinnacles, Coy Glen, Edwards Lake Cliffs Preserve, Fischer Old-growth Forest, McDaniel Meadow, Woods, and Swamp, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, Purvis Road Wetlands Natural Area, Ringwood Ponds, South Hill Swamp, Tarr-Young Preserve

Source of plant

Sunshine Nursery, Robert Mower


Tree to 40m; crown rounded; bark furrowed, grey. Branches glabrous, brown-gray. Leaves to 14cm wide, cordate at base, dull green above, pale grey-green beneath, vein axils pubescent beneath, 3-5 lobed, lobes acuminate, coarsely serrate, chartaceous; petioles not lactiferous. Corymbs appearing before leaves, subsessile, clustered; flowers green-yellow, apetalous, campanulate; pedicels pendent to 6cm, pubescent; disc extrastaminal; calyx connate. Fruit glabrous, wings held near parallel, to 4cm.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

fall color, food, sap