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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.
maple is widely planted as an ornamental or shade tree and many cultivars have
been selected, based on variation in growth habit/crown shape, mature height,
fall color, leaf shape, and temperature tolerance.
The leaves go from green to brilliant yellow, orange, and red in autumn,
although there is much variation in fall color within the species. Orange and reds seem to be more intense in New England types,
while yellows are more pronounced
Sugar maple is an important timber tree valued for
its hard, heavy, and strong wood, commonly used to make furniture, paneling,
flooring, and veneer. It is also
used for gunstocks, tool handles, plywood dies, cutting blocks, woodenware,
novelty products, sporting goods, bowling pins, and musical instruments.
Sugar maple is commonly browsed by white-tailed deer,
moose, and snowshoe hare. Red
squirrel, gray squirrel, and flying squirrels feed on the seeds, buds, twigs,
and leaves. Porcupines consume the bark and can girdle the upper stem.
Songbirds, woodpeckers, and cavity nesters nest in sugar maple.
Although the flowers appear to be wind-pollinated, the early-produced
pollen may be important to the biology of bees and other pollen-dependent
insects because the flowers are visited by many insects, especially bees.
County Distribution Map for Illinois:
Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:
- Illinois Plant Information Network (ILPIN) @ http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/delaware/ilpin/ilpin.html#Background
- List of Woody Plants Native or Naturalized in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/woody.html
- Tree Species @ http://ostermiller.org/tree/species.html
- Index to Eastern/Central Trees @ http://www.arborday.org/trees/ECtreelist.html
- ISU Forestry Extension Identification of Common Trees of Iowa @ http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pages/tree/
- Key to Leaves of Virginia Trees @ http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/forsite/key/intro.htm
- List of Native Trees for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/treetable.html
- The PLANTS Database @ http://plants.usda.gov/
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 http://www.arborday.org.
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 arborday.org zone map.