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Florida Maple Acer saccharum subsp. floridanum

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Acer barbatum
  • Acer floridanum
  • Saccharodendron barbatum (Michx.) Nieuwl.
  • Saccharodendron floridanum (Chapm.) Nieuwl.
Description

This plant is commonly known as sugar maple and is a deciduous tree which will typically grow 40' to 80' tall (sometimes to 100') with a dense, rounded crown. 

Sugar maples are long-lived trees which grow relatively slowly (somewhat faster in the first 35 years). It is an excellent shade tree.  It is more heat tolerant than the sugar maple. Use as shade or street tree; requires pruning for shape. 

This plant is found at rich bottomlands and  have small leaves and low height, making it a good candidate for planting in hurricane zones.

Fire Risk:  This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaves:    Fall              Blooms:   Early spring, spring             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Susceptible to aphids, borers and scale. Occasionally has problems with verticillium wilt, anthracnose, cankers, leaf spot and tar spot. Leaf scorch may be a problem in drought conditions. It has been frequently used as a street tree, but is generally intolerant of road salt, soil compaction and pollution.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves 3-5 lobed, entire
  • Leaf outline a house-shape
  • Leaves whitish, some pubescence below
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#bark#heat tolerant#wildlife plant#tree#maple#nectar plant#street tree#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#fire resistant#edible seeds#Braham Arboretum#fantz#nesting sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#bark#heat tolerant#wildlife plant#tree#maple#nectar plant#street tree#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#fire resistant#edible seeds#Braham Arboretum#fantz#nesting sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    saccharum subsp. floridanum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans taught the early colonists how to tap these trees to make maple syrup which has now become a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. and Canada. Can be used as a bonsai and ornamental shade trees.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA. Southeast and bottomlands.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The Southern sugar maple flowers are visited by pollinators and seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. Early spring source of nectar for bees. Nesting site for squires who also consume seeds as food source.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Shade
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire, wind and ice. White-tailed deer browse the twigs and leaves but is moderately resistant to damage.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Two-winged samara 3/4" long wings spreading downward at 60-70 degree angle. Matures mid to late summer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Small inconspicuous flowers appear in April hang from a long hanging (1 - 2") stalk in clusters of a few flowers. Regular, pentamerous in racemes, corymbs or umbels.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Orbicular
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Opposite, simple, orbicular, 1.5-3.5 in. in length and width; entire margin, 3 or 5 rounded lobes. Green above, pale and often fuzzy below. Petioles can be reddish.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Patchy
    Ridges
    Shaggy
    Smooth
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    Light gray with thick irregular ridges, becoming plated when aged.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Twigs reddish-brown with vertical lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Heat
    Wind