Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition


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Acer saccharum Marshall var. saccharum . Section: Acer. Sugar Maple, Hard Maple, Sugar-tree. Phen: Apr-Jun; Jun-Sep. Hab: Cove forests, other rich forests, especially over mafic and calcareous rocks, on calcareous soils common and typical in dry-mesic forests and dry woodlands as well, less typically extending to high elevation northern hardwood forests where sometimes in acidic situations (as in Highlands County, VA), in parts of the Piedmont perhaps more common as an introduction by ornamental planting than as a native, at least south of VA. Dist: Var. saccharum is distributed from NS west to ND, south to n. GA, n. AL, and MO. A. saccharum var. saccharum is the primary source of maple sugar and maple syrup; formerly, commercial sugaring was done in w. NC and w. VA. Large individuals of this species are the favorite substrate of a number of lichens, including Lobaria pulmonaria. The brown, platy bark is often similar to that of Aesculus flava. For its bright orange fall color, A. saccharum var. saccharum is one of our most prized ornamental trees. In NC, it is most common northward and on mafic rocks, thus reaching perhaps its best development in the amphibolite peaks of Ashe, Watauga, Avery, and Mitchell counties; it is more general in more northern and more calcareous portions of our region.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Syn: = Il, K1, K3, K4; = Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum – Mo2, Desmarais (1952); < Acer saccharum – C, GrPl, Mi, NY, Pa, Va; < Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum – RAB, Tn, W; < Acer saccharum var. saccharum – Ar; < Saccharodendron barbatum – S

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