Acer saccharum
Common name: 
Sugar Maple
A-ser sak-KAR-um
Sapindaceae, Aceraceae
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous tree, 60-75(100) ft [18-23(30) m], ascending branches, upright oval, twigs of small diam.  With age bark becomes furrowed, with long irregular thick plates or ridges.  Leaves opposite, simple, 7.5-15 cm long and across, 3-5 lobed, narrow and deep sinuses, tip acuminate, base cordate, margin slightly coarsely toothed, generally dark green above (but variable), pale green to light green below; petiole usually 5-7.5 cm long (Compare to other common landscape maples.)  Fall leaf color varies from brilliant yellow, burnt orange and red tones (a comparison with a Red Maple).  Flowers perfect, small, without petals, greenish yellow, on 2.5-7.5 long, thin, pendulous, stalks (pedicels), appear before leaves.  Fruit are paired, winged (samara), relatively small (< 2.5 cm long), glabrous, somewhat horseshoe-shaped, matures in Sept.-Oct.  Winter tree form shows long shoots, but the side shoots are not short as in Red Maple (A. rubrum).
  • Sun to part shade.  Often seen in the forest under a canopy.  Prefers well-drained, moderately moist, fertile soil.  Does not perform well in compacted or restricted areas.  Susceptible to salt injury.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4   Native from the Maritime provinces and southern parts of Ontario and Quebec, New York, and south to Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.
  • saccharum: Latin name for sugar cane.  Maple syrup is made from the sap of this tree.  A typical tap tree (12 inches (30 cm) or more in diameter) produces about 10 gallons (37.8 liters) of sap per season. About 40 gallons (151 liters) of sap are required to make 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of syrup.
  • The national tree of Canada; a stylized version of its leaf is the central feature of the Canadian flag.
  • Many selections, including:
    • Apollo®  - narrow, columnar tree, densely branched and compact, fall color yellow-orange and red
    • Bonfire™  - medium green leaves in summer turning to yellow, orange, orange-red and red in fall
    • Legacy®  - upright and pyramidal habit, leaves glossy green, thick, leathery, red and red-orange fall color
    • 'John Pair'  - medium medium size tree, dense, glossy green leaves, red color in early fall
    • 'Newton Sentry'  -  extremely upright, "columnar", major branches have many short stubby branchlets
    • 'Sweet Shadow'  -  leaves slightly drooping, deeply lobed, and each lobe cut; orange-red fall color
    • 'Temple's Upright'  -  it has a strong central leader but its major and minor lateral branches are also ascending, but gradually.  Fall color from orange-yellow to red.
  • Corvallis: young tree on the south side of the small central circle in Central Park, north of the play area.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: several on the east and south of Sackett resident hall on Jefferson Ave.
Click image to enlarge
  • spring flowering and flowers

    spring flowering and flowers

  • flowers and expanding leaves

    flowers and expanding leaves

  • flowers


  • developing fruit

    developing fruit

  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • leaves


  • maturing fruit

    maturing fruit

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • leaf lobes and fruit

    leaf lobes and fruit

  • leaf, comparison

    leaf, comparison

  • terminal bud, comparison

    terminal bud, comparison

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • winter twigs, buds

    winter twigs, buds