Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


See also Maple computer algebra system.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Aceraceae
Genus: Acer
  • Acer campestre - hedge maple
  • Acer ginnala - Amur maple
  • Acer griseum - paperbark maple
  • Acer japonicum - fullmoon maple
  • Acer macrophyllum - bigleaf maple
  • Acer negundo - box-elder or Manitoba maple
  • Acer nigrum - black maple
  • Acer palmatum - Japanese maple
  • Acer platanoides - Norway maple
  • Acer pseudoplatanus - sycamore
  • Acer rubrum - red maple
  • Acer saccharinum - silver maple or water maple
  • Acer saccharum - sugar maple
  • Full List of Acer species
Maples are trees of the genus Acer in the Order Sapindales, variously classified in the Family Aceraceae, Hippocastanaceae, or Sapindaceae. They are distinguished by opposite arrangement and entire, palmately lobed, or occasionally pinnate leaves. The flowers are regular, pentamerous, and borne in racemes, corymbs, or umbels. Their distinctive fruit called a key, a type of samara, is shaped to whirl as it falls and carry the seeds a considerable distance on the wind. The name 'acer' is stemming from the Latin "acris" (sharp), for the hardness of the wood and use as lances in the past.

Maples bloom in late winter or early spring, in some species before the leaves appear. Their flowers are small and inconspicuous, though the effect of an entire avenue of maples in bloom can be striking. They have five sepals, five petals about 3 mm long, twelve stamens about 1 cm long in two rings of six, and two pistils or a pistil with two styles. The ovary is superior and has two carpels, whose wings elongate the flowers, making it easy to tell which flowers are female. Within a few weeks of blooming, the trees drop large numbers of seeds.

The leaves in most species are palmately veined, with 3-9 veins, one of which is in the middle. Several species, including the paperbark maples, Acer griseum, Manchurian maple, Acer mandshuricum, Nikko maple, Acer nikoense, and three-flower maple, Acer triflorum, have trifoliate leaves. The box elder (Acer negundo) has pinnately compound leaves that may be simply trifoliate or may have 5, 7, or even 9 leaflets. One maple, the hornbeam maple, Acer carpinifolium, has pinnately-veined leaves that resemble those of the hornbeam.

Blossoms on Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

Maples are important timbers, syrup sources, and cultivated ornamental plants. Some species have bright autumnal leaf coloring. The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is tapped for sap, which is then boiled to produce maple syrup or made into maple sugar or maple candy. Quebec is the world's largest producer of maple sugar products.

The flag of Canada depicts a maple leaf.

See also

External link