Canada's 10 na­tive maples

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Contents -

Sugar maple (Acer Sac­cha­run): Sugar maples are of­ten re­ferred to as hard or rock maples and can grow over 100-feet-tall with a dense canopy 35-to-50-feetwide. This eastern species is the pri­mary source of maple syrup and sugar and can be found from Nova Sco­tia to Man­i­toba. Maple syrup is so sought after as it takes 40 to 50 litres of sap to make a mere litre of syrup. A healthy sugar maple can live for over 400 years and is an im­por­tant part of our hard­wood forests. They are the most shade tol­er­ant and are na­tive to cooler cli­mates. Un­for­tu­nately, they are much more sus­cep­ti­ble to pol­lu­tion than other maple species.

Black maple (Acer ni­grum): This va­ri­ety is found mostly in south­west­ern On­tario and is closely re­lated to the sugar maple, which it of­ten hy­bridizes with in the wild. A hard­wood va­ri­ety, it can also be tapped for syrup or used as tim­ber. Black maples have three-lobed leaves.

Bigleaf maple (Acer macro­phyl­lum): Named after its dis­tinc­tive large leaves, which can span 6 to 12 inches in di­am­e­ter. The bigleaf maple is na­tive to western North America and found in ri­par­ian hard­wood forests mixed with ev­er­greens and oaks. Also known as the Ore­gon maple, the bark of this species re­tains mois­ture when grown in a hu­mid en­vi­ron­ment and will of­ten be found cov­ered with epi­phytic mosses and ferns.

Red maple (Acer Rubrum): This tree is of­ten re­ferred to as a swamp maple and has soft wood. It is a com­mon va­ri­ety in eastern Canada. It can be pro­mis­cu­ous, hy­bridiz­ing with sil­ver maple and cre­at­ing sev­eral dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties in the wild. Trees can reach heights of 40-to-60 feet and have a spread of 25-to-35 feet. Spec­i­mens over 100-feet-tall have been recorded.

Sil­ver maple (Acer Sac­cha­r­inum): Na­tive to south­west­ern On­tario the sil­ver maple can now be found across the coun­try as it is of­ten planted as a shade tree. Trees grow 50 to 70 feet tall and of­fer thick canopies, 35 to 50 feet in di­am­e­ter. Dark leaves have a fuzzy sil­ver un­der­side shim­mer in the wind. Roots of this va­ri­ety are quite shal­low and there­fore it should not be planted near homes as roots have been known to buckle side­walks and foun­da­tions.

Man­i­toba maple (Acer ne­gundo): Also known as the box-elder or ash leaf maple, the soft­wood Man­i­toba maple is a quick grow­ing but short-lived hardy prairie tree. Man­i­toba maple is adapt­able to sea­son­ally flooded ar­eas, river­banks and can tol­er­ate dry soils. These at­tributes as make it ideal for use in shel­ter­belts and river­bank sta­bi­liza­tion. This is the only maple with a com­pound leaf that re­sem­bles an ash leaf. They can be tapped for syrup. Moun­tain maple (Acer spi­ca­tum): This na­tive maple is one of the most wide­spread and is found across the coun­try. Moun­tain maple gen­er­ally serves as an un­der­story in forested ar­eas, usu­ally as a shrub or small tree. It grows best in the well-drained moist soils of streams, ravines and hill­sides. Striped maple (Acer pen­syl­van­icum): The striped maple is also a shrubby un­der­story shrub or small tree that re­ceived its name from its smooth green bark with whitish stripes which help it pho­to­syn­the­size more ef­fi­ciently in the shade. It is of­ten re­ferred to as moose­wood or moose maple be­cause it is a favoured treat for moose and deer. It’s large, wide leaves have only three main lobes, and it is com­monly found in Cen­tral On­tario in full to par­tial shade.

Dou­glas maple (Acer glabrum): Found through­out Bri­tish Columbia and parts of Al­berta this shrub like maple is also called the Rocky Moun­tain maple as it grows on moun­tain­sides and avalanche ar­eas. The shrub or small trees trunk will of­ten di­vide into smaller limbs, and it can grow be­tween 22-to-32 feet tall. A soft­wood maple it was used ex­ten­sively by First Na­tions peo­ple to make snow­shoe frames, bows, fish­ing hoops, sad­dle frames and head­dresses. Gar­dener’s plant it as an or­na­men­tal due to its pretty fall colours and smaller size.

Vine maple (Acer cir­ci­na­tum): This sprawl­ing, shrubby tree grows mainly as an un­der­story and is another favoured treat for deer, elk and goats. One of its most at­trac­tive at­tributes is its short and crooked trunk with twisted limbs. Trunks can grow al­most hor­i­zon­tally or loop over and touch the ground caus­ing the tree to send out a new root sys­tem, form­ing an arch which is an­chored by roots at each end

Sugar maple (Acer Sac­cha­run ).

Black Maple (Acer ni­grum).

Bigleaf Maple (Acer macro­phyl­lum ).

Red Maple (Acer Rubrum).

Sil­ver Maple (Acer Sac­cha­r­inum).

Vine maple (Acer cir­ci­na­tum).

Man­i­toba maple (Acer ne­gundo).

Moun­tain maple (Acer spi­ca­tum).

Dou­glas maple (Acer glabrum ).

Striped maple (Acer pen­syl­van­icum ).

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