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.  About 40 liters of sap are required to make 1 liter 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 dorm.
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