Common names (selected) English: bird’s-eye maple, black maple, black sugar maple, chalk maple, Florida maple, hard maple, head maple, rock maple, sugar maple, sugartree, whitebark maple
Description: Deciduous tree
Native regions and distribution: Native to eastern and central North America. Recent increases in A. saccharum across North America is attributed to fire suppression. It is also found in parts of South America.
Urban habitat: sometimes found in disturbed sites and in urban woodland areas. It can thrive in a wide variety of soil types.
Ecological function: food and habitat for wildlife.
History/human uses: Acer saccharum is currently the only tree species used today for commercial syrup production. It has a long history of use by humans of its sap as a sweetener. Its seeds are edible, boiled then eaten hot. Its dried inner bark can be ground into a powder and used as a thickening in soups or mixed with cereals when making bread. Native American tribes, including Algonquin, Cherokee, Iroquois, Malecite, Micmac, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi, used the seeds, sap, bark, leaves, wood of the tree as medicine, food (as a sweetener, seasoning, beverage), for beadwork designs, and for making tools and paddles and oars. The tree is valued for its brilliant display or colors in autumn and is often planted as an ornamental. Its wood is also used, valued for its hardness and is used to make furniture, flooring, veneer and paneling and is also used to make tool handles, gunstocks, bowling pins, and musical instruments. The wood is also a very good fuel, giving off a lot of heat and forming very hot embers. The ashes of the wood are rich in alkali and yield large quantities of potash.