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Black Maple

BlackMaple1

Black Maple

Acer saccharum

Subsp. nigrum

Family: Sapindaceae

Leaf Type: Deciduous

Mature Height: 18-24 m (60-80 ft)

Fall Color: Bright yellow, red, and orange

Native Range: Black maples are found throughout the northeastern and midwestern United States as well as into central Tennesee.

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Features

This common tree is known for its breathtaking, yellow, orange, and red fall foliage. Historically, this tree was considered its own separate species, but is now considered a subspecies of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). It differs from other sugar maples by having darker bark that gives the tree its name, along with dark green leaves that are three-lobed instead of five-lobed. Like other maples, the primary method of spreading seeds is through a samara, or winged encasing, which is also the fruit of the tree. Black maples have a double-winged, green, paper-like samara. The bark of a black maple starts as dark gray in color with a smooth, firm texture. As the tree matures, the bark becomes furrowed and is similar to a sugar maple but has noticeably deeper furrows. When the black maple flowers in spring, it is a favorite meal of pollinators and the flowers are small and clustered, with each flower positioned at the end of a long, dangling stalk. We recommend not sampling the fruits & nuts of the trees and plants here at Adventure Science Center.

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Fun Facts

● Like the sugar maple, the black maple is desired for its high sugar content and is used to make maple syrup, which is to what the saccharum in the Latin name refers.
● Black maple wood is prized for its use in the timber industry including the production of furniture, musical instruments, paper, and baseball bats.

Did you know that trees provide homes for animals, keep us cool and clean our air? Click here to learn more about the benefits that trees provide to us and our world.

This site has a rich human history, including the story of the Bass Street Community, one of the first Free Black neighborhoods in Nashville. Click here to learn more about St. Cloud Hill and its many inhabitants over the years.

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