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Acer saccharinum

Common Name(s):
River maple , Silver maple, Silverleaf maple, Swamp maple, Water maple, White maple
Blair , Lutescens

Silver maple is a large shade tree in the Sapidaceae family.  It gets its common name from the silvery undersides of its leaves. It is native to eastern North America and is often found in flood plains, along streams or rivers, or low-lying woodlands.  It has attractive gray to dark brown bark that has the tree matures develops a shaggy appearance as the bark develops long thin flaky scales that exfoliate at the ends.  This tree grows at a rapid pace and has a graceful form making it a once very popular landscape tree.  It has fallen out of favor recently because of its weak wood and tendancy toward breakage.  It would make an excellent addition to a rain garden as it can grow in areas of poor soil or wet conditions where other stronger wooded trees cannot.  This tree tolerates drought once established and air pollution.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems though scale and borers may be present. Verticillium wilt, anthracnose, and canker can affect stressed trees. Silver maples grow rapidly so they tend to have weak brittle branches that are susceptible to breaking in high winds or when coated with ice/snow in winter. Shallow roots may damage nearby sidewalks.

A similar plant with less problems: Acer saccharum

50-70 ft.
Insignificant, greenish yellow to red flowers in early spring
Full sun and tolerates a wide range of soil types including dry poor soil but prefers moist soils.
Upright; oval to rounded; fairly open; strong, spreading branches
40-60 ft.
Growth Rate:
3 to 6 in. opposite, simple leaf with 5 deeply cut lobes; silvery underside; medium green on top, yellow, brown combination fall color
deciduous, rain garden, drought tolerant

NCCES plant id: 1894

Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum
Photo by Darkone, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum fall color
Photo by Dick Thompson, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum foliage
Photo by Olegivvit, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum new foliage
Photo by Crusier, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum older bark
Photo by Dimìtar Nàydenov, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum seeds
Photo by Jason Sturner, CC BY - 2.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum flowers
Photo by Sten Porse, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Acer saccharinum Acer saccharinum buds
Photo by Dimìtar Nàdenov, CC-BY-SA-3.0