Sugar Maple

Acer saccharum Marsh.



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Family:  Aceraceae 

Native or Introduced to Illinois: native 

Natural Habit in Illinois:  moist upland woods; along rivers and streams

Leaf:  The leaves are three to five lobed, but usually five lobed.  The lobes are deeply cut with rounded divisions between the lobes, dark green above and pale green with a silvery cast below.

Flower:  Yellow to green, small, clustered, hanging from a long (1 to 3 inch) stem, appearing with the leaves.

Fruit:  Similar to other maples, the fruit is a pair of winged seeds about 1 inch long.  The seeds ripen in the autumn.

Twig:  The twigs are opposite on the stem, smooth and gray to brown in color.

Bark:  On large branches and trunk the bark is light to dark gray, narrowly ridged with long, deep furrows, sometimes becoming scaly.

Size/Form/Shape:  The sugar maple (hard maple, rock maple) is one of  our largest and finest forest trees, growing to a height of 80 feet with a diameter of two or more feet.  The tree produces a dense, round, compact crown when grown in the open and is used quite extensively as a shade or ornamental tree.  In the fall the yellow, red and crimson colors of the leaves form a very showy and beautiful part of the landscape. 

County Distribution Map for Illinois:  


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:

The information below is from the National Arbor Day Foundation.  This information can be viewed in the original (source) form by visiting The National Arbor Day Foundation at

Sun Exposure:  This maple does well in the sun, tolerates shade.
Soil Type:  The Sugar Maple grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, clay, sandy, well-drained soils; susceptible to salt.
Moisture:  Prefers moist soil conditions but has moderate drought resistance.
Growth Rate:  This tree grows at a slow to medium growth rate.

Hardiness Zones: 3 - 8
This maple can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the zone map.