Category: Deciduous Trees
Maples trees are common names for the trees under the genus Acer. The maple tree leaf has been adapted as the national arboreal emblem of Canada. Maple trees are very common in the United States. They grow mostly in the Northern Temperates. Maple trees will vary in size by types, some reaching only twelve to twenty feet, while other can grow to seventy feet or more in height. Maples are short-lived trees, and reproduce by seeds, which have wings. The seeds fall, spinning toward the ground like a helicopter, and sometimes children put them on the ends of their noses using the sticky end.
Maple trees have hidden clusters of green flowers at the end of the young shoots. The flowers stand upright, unlike other tree flowers, which in most cases hang down. The trees are self-pollinating, and some of the clusters of flowers are even able to pollinate themselves. The wind is the most common form of pollination, but flies and other insects will occasionally cause cross-pollination. Once pollinated, the flowers of maple trees turn into the small fruit of the plants. This fruit will turn into the seeds and grow wings.
All maple trees have three principal veins radiating from the base of the leaf. Many maple trees have leaves that are lobed in union with these veins, many having one smaller lobe on each side of the long, slender stem. The leaves vary in size by groups; some reaching only an inch or so across, while others can be as large as six or more inches. The young leaves or maple trees are a bright red, which will fade into the deep green of mature leaves.
The wood of maple trees is excellent and has much usefulness as a source of fuel, and can be made into high quality charcoal. The wood is most often used for its attractive quality. Furniture is often made from the sturdy, fine-grained wood. the sap from a Maple tree can be made into sugar easily.
Maples come in the form of shrubs as well as trees. The trees can grow to be forty five meters in height (145 feet), which shrubs usually stay at less than ten meters tall (33 feet). Most Maple trees are not around long.
Maple flowers can be red, orange, yellow or green. The flowers are quite small but when found in huge numbers in a tree can give be amazingly colourful.
The most fast-growing and cold-resistant maple is the Norway Maple. Other maples, particularly the more unusual or smaller tree group, are used as specimen trees.
They are also widely used in the bonsai art, because they respond beautifully to the performance that are used for leaf development and reduction, and many of the maple tree groups can be used.
Maples are obviously important as sources of wood and syrup. The dried wood of these trees is used to smoke food. The Sugar Maple is used to produce syrup, which is carried out by tapping the tree for sap, then boiling it into maple sugar or maple taffy. Other closely-related groups of the Sugar Maple can also be used, but they do not produce as much syrup. Sugar Maples can live to be 300 years old.
Larger group of maples give beneficial timber. Butcher's blocks and alley lanes, bowling pins and pool cue shafts are made of Sugar Maple wood. Baseball bats are also made with maple wood.