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Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum subsp. nigrum - black, black sugar, or rock maple


Black maple is a close relative of sugar maple (A. saccharum), the two being difficult to distinguish, with the black supposedly having darker bark and less sharply defined leaf lobes. It is distinctly more southern in its range but has nevertheless grown well at Mustila from seed collected at Guelph in south Ontario in 1992. It is said to be very drought-tolerant, and hardy in both the heat and the cold of the American Midwest.

In America the black maple can grow up to 40 metres but in Finland remains considerably smaller. Like the sugar maple, it has showy autumn colour and its sap can be used to make maple syrup.


Acer saccharum - sugar maple

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Sugar maple resembles closely the native Norway maple (A. platanoides) but its native habitat is the east of the North American continent in temperate climates. It is one of Canada’s most valuable broadleaves, a large long-lived tree. In the landscape it is at its best in autumn, showing long-lasting glowing colours from yellow through red and orange shades. The common name comes from the traditional use of its sugar-rich sap in making maple syrup. 

In Finland its use has been limited to individual trees in dendrological collections. At Mustila it grows in several places, both as young groups and plantations, from abundant seed collected by Mustila expeditions to Canada, along the northern limits of its range there. So far, winter hardiness has been excellent, autumn colours showy and long-lasting. Sugar maple does not suffer from the blackspot fungus which troubles the leaves of the local species.


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