Index
Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Acer Sp. - Maple

Family: Sapindaceae (Horse-chestnut family) (Previously in Aceraceae) [E-flora]


Acer macrophyllum


Acer macrophyllum

Acer macrophyllum

Local Species;

"Habit: Shrub, tree; occasionally monoecious. Inflorescence: umbel, panicle, or pendent raceme."


"Species In Genus: +- 130 species: northern hemisphere. Etymology: (Latin name for Acer campestre) Note: Many species monoecious or dioecious."
"Unabridged Note: The sexuality of Acer species is complex, with some species described as dioecious or monoecious and many species described as having both unisexual and bisexual flowers on the same tree. However, maple flowers that appear morphologically bisexual may be functionally unisexual, producing functional pollen or ovules but not both. More study of sexuality is needed in our native maples. In some Acer species, fruit may become fully developed even if no seed is set, so that production of morphologically normal fruit is no proof that a plant is reproducing." [Jepson]

TAXONOMIC KEY TO OUR ACER SPECIES

1. Leaves pinnately compound; petals absent .......Acer negundo
1. Leaves simple, palmately lobed; petals usually present.
2. Flowers 10-50; inflorescence racemose or in panicles; trees up to 30 m tall.
3. Leaves grey, white or purplish below, the stalks without milky juice when cut; inflorescence in long, hanging panicles; fruits glabrous ..........Acer pseudoplatanus
3. Leaves green below, the stalks with milky juice when cut; inflorescence racemose or in stiff, more or less erect panicles; fruits glabrous or hairy.
4. Leaves lobed beyond the middle, the tips abruptly sharp-pointed; inflorescence racemose; fruits hairy .......Acer macrophyllum
4. Leaves not lobed beyond the middle, the tips bristlelike; inflorescence in stiff, more or less erect panicles; fruits glabrous ........Acer platanoides
2. Flowers usually less than 10; inflorescence umbellate or corymbose; plants usually shrublike and less than 10 m tall.
5. Leaves 3- to 5-lobed, glabrous to sparsely glandular short-hairy; sepals green........Acer glabrum
5. Leaves 7- to 9-lobed, soft-hairy beneath and often hairy above; sepals red .......Acer circinatum [E-flora]

Habitat/Range

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Other Information

A. circinatum; A shade-tolerant to shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Pacific North American deciduous shrub (rare on Vancouver Island). Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Plentiful and persistent in open-canopy forests and clearings on water-receiving (alluvial. seepage, and stream-edge) sites; dominant in primary successional stages on water-shedding sites with fragmental colluvial soils. Regenerates vigorously from stump sprouts; it hinders natural regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Frequently grows with Polystichum munitum. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms. [IPBC][E-flora]

Species Interactions


Mushroom Substrate: Acer Species, including A. macrophyllum, are "...suitable tree species for the cultivation of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms." [GGMM Stamets]


Acer circinatum - Vine Maple

"General: Deciduous small tree or shrub, 1-8 m tall, often propagating by layering, sometimes forming dense thickets; stems branching, pale green to reddish, becoming brown with age." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Wet to mesic closed and open forests and streamsides in the lowland and montane zones; common in SW BC, rare on S Vancouver Island; S to N CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Ecological Indicator Information A shade-tolerant to shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Pacific North American deciduous shrub (rare on Vancouver Island). Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Plentiful and persistent in open-canopy forests and clearings on water-receiving (alluvial. seepage, and stream-edge) sites; dominant in primary successional stages on water-shedding sites with fragmental colluvial soils. Regenerates vigorously from stump sprouts; it hinders natural regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Frequently grows with Polystichum munitum. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms." (Information applies to coastal locations only) [IPBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]


Acer negundo - Box-Elder

"General: Deciduous, spreading tree up to 20 m tall; young branches glabrous to finely hairy, light brown, becoming furrowed with age." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Notes: This species is probably naturalized in BC." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Mesic to dry sites in the lowland to montane zones; rare (sometimes garden escape) in S and NE BC; SE AB to W ON, disjunct along Great Lakes." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Exotic [E-flora]



Acer platanoides - Norway Maple

"General: Deciduous, spreading tree up to 30 m tall; bark more or less smooth, greyish." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Mesic forest openings in the lowland or montane zones; rare horticultural escape in forests near urban areas in S BC; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Exotic [E-flora]

Synonyms


Acer pseudoplatanus - Sycamore Maple

"General: Deciduous, spreading tree up to 30 m tall; bark scaly, various shades of brown." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Mesic forest openings in the lowland zone; rare horticultural escape in forests near UBC, and possibly elsewhere; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Exotic [E-flora]


Acer Sp. - Maple

References


Acer glabrum - Douglas Maple

Young Shoots Fibre/Wood Bark

Family: Sapindaceae (Horse-chestnut family) (Previously in Aceraceae) [E-flora]

Subtaxa present in B.C.
Acer glabrum var. douglasii [IFBC-E-flora]

"Acer glabrum is a deciduous Tree growing to 9 m (29ft 6in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects." [PFAF]
"Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

"Douglas maple is the only member of the maple family (Aceraceae) native in Alaska. Named for its discoverer, David Douglas (1798-1834), Scotch botanical explorer, who introduced many trees from western North America to Europe." [Viereck ATS]

USDA Flower Colour: Green Blooming Period: Late Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics: Colour: Brown Present from Summer to Fall [E-flora] USDA hardiness zone: 3-8 [PFAF]

Ecological Indicator Information: A shade-tolerant to shade-intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region. Occurs on nitrogen-rich, water-shedding and water-receiving sites within continental boreal, cool temperate, cool semiarid, and occasionally cool mesothermal climates. Scattered throughout coastal British Columbia; its occurrence increases with increasing continentality. Common on eastern Vancouver Island and in Skeena River valley. Grows with vine maple in the southem coast-interior ecotone. Like A. circinatum, it inhabits open-canopy forests, clearings, and primary succession stages on fragmental colluvial soils. Regenerates abundantly from stump sprouts; it hinders regeneration and growth of shade­intolerant conifers. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms. [IPBC][E-flora]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Cultivation

"Landscape Uses: Erosion control, Massing. Of easy cultivation, it succeeds in any soil, preferring a good moist well-drained soil[11]. Prefers a sunny position but tolerates some shade[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. Hardy to about -25oc[184]. This species grows well at Kew, a specimen was 12 metres tall in 1967[11]. The tree is almost fastigiate[11]. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[18, 20]. Trees are usually dioecious. Male and female trees must be grown if seed is required[226]." [PFAF] "Due to its flexible stems, it can withstand heavy snow pack and often codominates avalanche chutes. Its range is from southern Alaska to New Mexico (Elias 1980, Uchytil 1989)." [PPNWNP]
"Rocky Mountain maple seedlings grow about 30 cm/year (Hansen 2003). On good sites sprouts may reach 1.3 m within 2 years and 3 m in 10 years. Maximum heights are reached in 30 to 40 years (Anderson 2001).... It is an important browse species for domestic livestock, especially sheep, and wild ungulates. Samples of summer growth contained about 8.7 percent crude protein, 3.1 percent fat, 34.0 percent crude fiber, 51.0 percent N-free extract, and 3.2 percent ash. Samples of winter browse contained 5.9 percent crude protein, 2.4 percent fat, 33.3 percent crude fiber, and 54.2 percent N-free extract (Anderson 2001). The seeds and vegetative parts are consumed by ruffed and blue grouse, grosbeaks, and small mammals (Anderson 2001)." [Francis,2004]

Propagation

"Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8°c. The seed has a hard coat and can be slow to germinate, often taking 2 years. The seed can be harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all[80, 113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. It is very difficult to find suitable wood for cuttings." [PFAF] Seed: "Douglas maple begins to produce seed as early as ten years of age. Seeds reach maturity from August through early October. Hand picking of the samaras is the best method of collection. Clean by hand rubbing or hammermilling of the wings and blowing off chaff. Dry the seeds to 10-15% moisture content and store at 2-5°C in sealed containers. Warm stratification for 180 days followed by cold stratification for 180 days gives a 25% germination rate in container seeding in a greenhouse. Seed can also be sown by direct field planting in the fall (Olson and Gabriel 1974)." [PPNWNP]Vegetative: "Douglas maple sprouts easily from root crowns following a disturbance (Olson and Gabriel 1974)." [PPNWNP]

References

  1. [E-flora] Acer glabrum,http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Acer%20glabrum&redblue=Both&lifeform=2, Accessed July 29, 2017
  2. Francis,2004 - Wildland Shrubs of the United States and Its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions: Volume 1, USDA Forest Service John K. Francis, Editor, July 2004
  3. Gottesfeld1992 - The Importance of Bark Products in the Aboriginal Economies of Northwestern British Columbia, Canada, Leslie M. Johnson Gottesfeld, Economic Botany 46(2) pp. 148-157, 1992
  4. [PFAF] Acer glabrum Plants For A Future, www.pfaf.org, U.K., Accessed May 12, 2014
  5. Turner1990 - Contemporary Use of Bark for Medicine by two Salishan Native Elders of Southeast Vancouver Island, Canada, Nancy J. Turner and Richard J. Hebda, Journal of Ethnopharmaology, 29 (1990) 59-72, Elsevier Scientific Publishers Ireland Ltd.
  6. Turner&Burton - Soapberry: Unique Northwestern Foaming Fruit, Nancy J. Turner and Carla M. Burton
  7. [Turner, Kuhnlein] Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples, Harriet V. Kuhnlein & Nancy J. Turner, Gordon and Beach Publishers, Netherlands, 1991

Bigleaf Maple - Acer macrophyllum

Young Shoots, Seeds, Flowers, Inner Bark, Sap Fibre/Wood "Four-barks medicine"

"Acer macrophyllum is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects." [PFAF]

Status: Native. [E-flora]
General: "Large, deciduous, spreading tree up to 30 m tall; branches greenish barked, smooth; older bark greyish-brown, ridged and often covered with lichens and mosses." [IFBC-E-flora] "Western maples are majestic trees that can grow to 65 feet (20 m) tall." [Jones TDFB]

Habitat / Range
"Moist to mesic forests and open slopes in the lowland and montane zones; common in SW BC west of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; S to CA, disjunct in ID." [IFBC-E-flora] "It is extremely flood tolerant and often remains in floodplain habitats.... Bigleaf maple's shade tolerance is low to moderate. It grows most rapidly in small forest openings and open areas". [PPNWNP]

Ecological Indicator Information
"A shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American deciduous broad­leaved tree distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms). Its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation, latitude, and continentality. Common in pure or mixed-species stands (usually with red alder or black cottonwood) on alluvial, seepage, and stream-edge sites; occasional on water-shedding sites; dominant in primary succession on fragmental colluvial soils. This fast -growing tree regenerates abundantly from stump sprouts in clearings, thus hindering regeneration and growth of conifers. Its calcium-rich bark supports well developed corticolous moss communities. Characteristic of young-seral forests."[IPBC][E-flora]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

Uses

Maple Syrup

"In any event, the quality of the sirup made from the bigleaf maple trees in this study was lower than sirup from the sugar maple, being generally comparable to sirup made from eastern soft maples, such as red and silver maple. The sap from the soft maples, like the bigleaf maple sap, often is low in sugar content. Some of the bigleaf samples did have a trace of an unfamiliar “varnish” taste, but this was not too objectionable. It occurred only in late-season sap collections which may not warrant collection anyway because of low sap flow. With experience in collecting and processing bigleaf maple sap, procedures surely will be found to make a good, marketable sirup, even if its flavor may be different from that of sugar maple." [Ruth et al.,1972]
"Past experience with bigleaf maple in the Pacific Northwest has shown an annual sap flow of 3 to 6 gallons per tree, with about 35 gallons of sap required to make 1 gallon of sirup." [Ruth et al.,1972]
"...trees producing well at the beginning of the sap-flow season continued for that season and tended to be good producers in subsequent seasons." [Ruth et al.,1972]
"Standard practice in the East is that sap must not remain in the buckets or sap bags more than a few hours before it is collected; otherwise it will ferment and spoil (10)." [Ruth et al.,1972]
The sap was brought to boiling quickly; then the heat was reduced to maintain a gentle, steady boiling. Scorching of sirup was at a minimum. The foam formed during the early part of the boiling was skimmed continuously. The finishing point of the sirup was determined with a laboratory refractometer. [Ruth et al.,1972]
Sap started flowing right after tapping on November 17, increased between December 4 and 7, continued to flow intermittently at a somewhat lower level through January 21, then tapered off rapidly in late January in spite of apparently favorable sugar weather.... New tapholes tapped February 8 began to flow immediately and the sap volumes measured for the February 8-11 period were the highest of the season. This was followed by several heavy flows through March 8."
The new trees tapped January 18 produced high sap flows January 18-21 and February l-11 (fig. 4). Flows from all trees tapered off in mid-March and only a trace of sap flowed after March 22. Bud bursting was about March 29."
"Total 1970-71 season sap flow per taphole for trees originally tapped November 17, 1970, ranged from zero to almost 17 gallons". [Ruth et al.,1972]
"Sweetness of bigleaf maple sap varied among individual tapholes from 1.0 to 2.6 degrees Brix.... Average sap sweetness varied during the season with a peak of 1.4 degrees Brix reached about January 25". [Ruth et al.,1972]
"Although the bigleaf maple sirup was very tasteful, all the samples were low in typical sugar maple flavor. This low level of the usual predominant flavor allowed other flavors to be identified. One was a detectable but not too objectionable varnishlike taste in some of the late-season samples.... additional heat... did not improve the flavor. Rather, the Varnish taint” was increased in those late season samples that had it. The color of the Oregon sirup was dark for a product concentrated in steam kettles, and this does not correlate with the low value for invert sugar." [Ruth et al.,1972]

Cultivation

"Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil[11] and a position that is at least moderately sunny[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. Growth of young plants is rapid in the wild, slowing down after 40 -50 years with a maximum life span of about 275 years[229]. This species thrives in Britain but it can be cut back in a severe winter if that follows a mild autumn[11]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[18, 20]." [PFAF] "...maturity reached at 150 years or more." [Ruth et al.,1972] Regenerates "... vegetatively from stump sprouts or root suckering as well as through seed." [Northcote FF] "It is also a good tree to plant along streambanks to prevent erosion". [PPNWNP]

Cultural Modification:

Species Interactions

Propagation

"Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8oc. It can be slow to germinate. The seed can be harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all[80, 113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter." [PFAF] Soak 48 hours and stratification for 45-130 days, incubation 20oC for 28 days. [Leadem FSSB]

"Seed tends to decay rapidly and cannot be stored for long periods of time. Zasada et al.... Place the seeds in airtight containers soon after collection and store at 1oC until stratification begins. Cold stratify at 1-5oC for 40-80 days prior to sowing. Buis (1996) suggests stratifying over winter in a refrigerator and sowing in February or early March but has also noted excellent germination by sowing directly in the fall. Sow in mulched beds and grow for two years before transplanting or outplanting (Olson and Gabriel 1974, Uchytil 1989, Haeussler at al. 1990)." [PPNWNP]

"Bigleaf maple sprouts vigorously from the root crown after it is top killed or cut (Uchytil 1989). Small seedlings, with about two or three leaves, can be salvaged from construction sites or from under mature trees and transplanted into containers (Buis 1996)." [PPNWNP]

References


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