Sugar maple

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Sugar maple Acer saccharum


A Maple tree, Acer saccharum, native to the eastern half of North America. Sugar maple trees have a smooth trunk, five-lobed leaves, winged seeds and are commercially grown for maple syrup. The light reddish-brown timber is hard, fine-grain, and often has an attractive figuring pattern known as Bird's eye (irregular brownish dots surrounded by rings). Maple lumber is used for furniture, cabinetry, flooring (dance floors, bowling alleys), musical instruments, and Veneer.

Hard Maple (Acer saccharum)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Acer saccharum; érable à sucre (Fr.); Zuckerahorn (Deut.); acero da zucchero (It.); arce de azúcar (Esp.); érable oeil d'oiseau (Fr.); Vogelaugenahorn (Deut.); acero occhiolinato (It.); arce ojo de pajaro (Esp.); hard maple; rock maple; white maple; bird's eye maple

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Color: whitish timber often with grain circles around small dark knots.
  • Rings: distinct.
  • Pores: diffuse, fine.
  • Grain: distinct.
  • Rays: distinct.
  • Very hard, heavy.
  • Height = 30-37 m
  • Flower = light yellow green clusters in early spring
  • Fruit = two-winged samaras in horseshoe shape
  • Bark = brown with furrows
  • Density = 43 ppcf
  • Specific gravity = 0.69

Resources and Citations

  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • H.L.Edlin, What Wood is That?, Viking Press, New York, 1969
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 498
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998