sugar maple, (Acer saccharum), also called hard maple or rock maple, large tree in the soapberry family (Sapindaceae), native to eastern North America and widely grown as an ornamental and shade tree. It is commercially important as a source of maple syrup, maple sugar, and hardwood lumber useful in furniture manufacture and flooring. The leaf of the sugar maple is the national emblem of Canada.
The sugar maple tree may grow to a height of 40 metres (130 feet). It has a dense crown of leaves, which turn various shades of gold to scarlet in fall. Its three- to five-lobed leaves appear after the greenish yellow flowers of spring. The fruits are paired samaras. Smooth grayish bark on the trunk and branches gradually furrows with age. Some trees develop special wood grain patterns such as bird’s-eye maple (with dots suggesting eyes of birds) and curly and fiddleback maple, with wavy and rippled grain, respectively.
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