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Article by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Research www.technogypsie.com on December 3, 2016.
Taxonomy: Kingdom: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Rosids; Order: Sapindales; Family: Sapindaceae or Aceraceae; Subfamily: Hippocastanoideae; Genus: Acer; Acer rubrum
Common Names: Maple, Red Maple, Maple Syrup, Swamp maple
The Genus Acer can be found all over Asia, Europe, Northern Africa, and North America. Acer laurinum extends to the southern Hemisphere. Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore Maple) is the most common found in Europe. The most common, the Red Maple, is one of the most popular and common in the eastern deciduos forests of North America. They are very common in New England and the Northeast, especially Maine west to Minnesota, south to Texas, and east to Florida. The tree is hardy tolerating a wide range of habitats, conditions, and locales. They prefer shady or sunny locations with dry or wet soils, and can range from high to low elevations. They have adaptable roots that do well in most soil types, though deep acidic moist soils are its preference. They live approximately 80-100 years, with some as old as 200. Seeds mature 3 weeks to 6 months after flowering, with seed dispersal after maturity, able to release hundreds of thousands of seeds at once.
Description: Acer/Maple trees and shrubs with over 128 known species and are deciduous, known for their leaf colors, and shade tolerant in youth riparian understory or pioneer in adulthood. The trees generally grow upwards of 60-90 feet in height, though the largest recorded was 120 feet. Maple shrubs don’t usually exceed more than 33 feet in height. The branches are generally palmate, veined, and lobed with 3-9 veins each leading to a lobe that is central or apical that bud small red flowers from March to April, with fruit in April to June. On the Red Maple (Acer rubrum) regular, pentamerous, raceme/corymb/or umbel borne 4-5 petal 1-6 mm long green/yellow/orange/or red flowers hosting 4-10 6-10 mm long stamens and two pistils hosting a superior two carpeled ovary with elongate wings with 4-5 sepals produce the fruits are called samaras which have an enclosed seed at one end with a thin dry wing-like projection on the other end some nickname whirlybirds or helicopters as they spin when falling from the trees. Roots are dense and fibrous blocking growth of other plants around them.
Red maples produce a sap that is edible, and is the source of “maple syrup”. Sugar maples produce the most sugary syrups on the market. This is eaten or drunk as a culinary desert or topping, especially on pancakes, waffles, and deserts. Furniture and flooring is made from its wood, as are clothespins, musical instruments, and boxes (especially from the Red Maple). The trees are often planted as ornamentals in landscaping as they grow fast and easy to plant. Dried wood is often used in smoking meats. Charcoal from maples is used in making Tennessee whisky. Hard maples is used to make bowling pins, bowling lanes, pool cue shafts, butcher’s blocks, wooden baseball bats, and a core material in limbs of recurve bow due to its strength and stiffness. The backs/sides/necks of most stringed instruments like violas, violins, cellos, electric guitars, and double basses are usually maple. Maple recorders, bassoons, and drums are also often made from maple.
Medicinal Uses: coming soon.
Magical Uses: coming soon.
Spirituality: coming soon.
Folklore: Canadians use the Maple Leaf as their coat of arms and icon for their flags representing strength and endurance.
All photos and content copyrighted by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions … www.technogypsie.com/photography.
- Cornell.edu n.d. “The Life of a Sugar Maple Tree”. Website referenced December 3, 2016 at http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/pubs/trees.htm
- National Wildlife Federation n.d. “Maple”. Website referenced December 3, 2016 at http://www.nwf.org/wildlife/wildlife-library/plants/red-maple.aspx.
- Wikipedia n.d. “Maple”. Website referenced December 3, 2016 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple
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