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Sugar Maple Leaf Identification

Author : Derek Farley

For many years, sugar maple trees have been used in the effort of making maple syrup. Although most people now buy their syrup at the grocery store, it is still possible to find a sugar maple, tap it, and then produce your own maple syrup. In this article, I'm going to explain how you discover which tree is a sugar maple, mainly by leaf identification. The sugar maple trees are known for their palmate leaves. Palmate means that they resemble a hand.

With its five lobes and u-shaped sinuses (meaning that they have curved connections instead of the usual v-shape), the leaves do indeed look like a hand when you hold it one up against your own. The leaves of sugar maples usually grow between three to five inches in diameter and are quite smooth to the touch. Although they are a bright color green in the summer, in autumn the leaves become beautiful shades of red, orange, and brown. These are ideal for young children who like to rake up leaves and jump in them.

Another way to identify sugar maples is by the samara. The samara is a green, wing-shaped case that contains seeds; these cases grow on the tree through out the year and then fall off in the autumn months. Whereas most trees have alternative branches, sugar maples have branches that are opposite to each other. The young ones have a bark that is smooth and gray; whereas, the bark of mature trees have furrows that make it appear that the bark is shedding off the tree.

Aside from being excellent trees for producing your own syrup, sugar maples are a wonderful addition to your yard. Not only do they decorate the area with their beautiful autumn leaves, but they also provide a lovely shade for those like to sit outside on hot summer days. These trees can be planted in any type of soil except for sand. They thrive best in more acidic areas and cooler climates. Trees can grow to be up to 80 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter.

They are not mature until they are between 30-40 years old. Many of these trees can be found growing wild, or you can purchase them through a catalogue/online or at a nearby nursery. I hope that this article will help you with your attempts at locating a maple by leaf identification. With any luck, you should be able to produce your own syrup in no time at all!

Author's Resource Box

You can get much more information and resources about leaf identification at identifying a leaf

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Tags:   maple, sugar, identification, leaf, syrup

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Submitted : 2011-02-15    Word Count : 444    Times Viewed: 400