Maple Tree: Key Facts

Did you know that people throughout the world use maple trees to make everything from syrup to violins to herbal remedies? Maples are amazing, useful, and incredibly diverse plants, and they grow well in many different regions. Check out this table to learn some key facts about maple trees.

Maple Tree Facts and Information

Description:Maples are deciduous trees. 

They have broad, palmate leaves divided into 3 to 5 lobes; leaves are light to dark green in summer, red, orange, or yellow in the fall. 

Trees produce small, winged fruits called samaras; some ripen in spring, while others ripen in the fall. 

Maple bark is generally brown or grayish brown; smooth in young trees, the bark becomes rough and ridged as the tree matures.
Average Height:Height varies widely by species; usually between 20 and 80 feet.
Average Lifespan:130 to 300 years; lifespan varies widely by species. 
Geographical Distribution:Commonly found throughout Asia, North America, and Europe.
Native Habitat:Varies by species. Some examples:

1. Sugar maples prefer cool, damp climates and well-drained, loamy, slightly acidic soil.

2. Black maples are more adaptable to warm, dry climates than sugar maples.

3. Red maples are highly adaptable to a variety of habitats.

4. Silver maples prefer wet conditions and often grow near stream beds, lake shores, and other bodies of water.
Species:Approximately 130; common species include the sugar, black, red, and silver maples
Properties:Wood: Maple wood is considered a hardwood whether it’s called “hard maple” or “soft maple.”

Sap: The sap from any maple species can be made into syrup.

Food: Maple fruits are edible and highly nutritious; the leaves, though bitter, can also be eaten and used in herbal remedies.
Uses:1. Maple wood is commonly used in building, construction, and carpentry.

2. It is a common choice for firewood.

3. Instruments, such as violins, are often made of maple wood.

4. The sap is processed into maple sugar and syrup.

5. Some varieties of maple are kept and grown as ornamental trees in landscaping.

6. Maple leaves, buds, and bark are used as herbal remedies in some regions.

7. Maple leaves and samaras can be eaten as food (squirrels love them too!).

For More Information

Some maple trees look quite similar to those of other varieties, while some look vastly different and may not be easily recognizable as a maple. Because maple trees vary so much from species to species, you may want to research specific maple varieties to learn more about the differences between them.

As a good place to start, check out these videos on sugar maples and red maples. Here are our guides on pruning maple trees and saving dying tree.

Read also about other forest trees – here are our guides about Oak, Pine, Sycamore.

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