SILVER MAPLE
File Size: 64 KB
 
Acer saccharinum  L.
Mitchell County, Kansas
Height: To 92 feet
Family: Sapindaceae - Soapberry Family
Flowering Period:   March, April
Also Called: Soft maple.
Trunks: Erect; bark light gray to grayish brown, furrows shallow, exfoliating in long, thin plates; wood tan, soft.
Twigs: Reddish brown to grayish brown, flexible, glabrous; leaf scars crescent-shaped; buds reddish brown to red, ovoid to nearly spherical, .12 to .16 inch, apex obtuse to acute, scales ciliate.
Leaves: Deciduous, opposite, simple; petiole 3.2 to 4 inches, glabrous; blade nearly round to triangular-ovate in outline, 4 to 6 inches long, 3.6 to 5.6 inches wide, base truncate to cordate, symmetric, margins prominently 5-lobed, each lobe with 3-6 prominent teeth and, usually, smaller teeth, apex acute to acuminate, sinuses between principal lobes angled or V-shaped, sometimes U-shaped, 1/2 to 2/3 distance to base, lower surface silvery white to grayish white, glabrous or glabrate, upper surface green, glabrous.
Flowers: Inflorescences axillary from lateral buds, clusters, 4-6-flowered; peduncles absent; pedicels 0 to .04 inch, glabrous. Flowers unisexual, radially symmetric, produced before leaves emerge; sepals 5, connate, yellowish green, equal; calyx .16 to .24 inch, lobes triangular; petals absent; staminate: stamens (3-)5(-7), .2 to .24 inch; pistillate: pistil 1; style 1; stigma 2-lobed.
Fruit: May-June; samaras, 2, initially greenish, eventually yellowish brown or tan, prominently winged, wings 1.2 to 2.8 inches, more or less parallel to divergent, sparsely pubescent or glabrate; seed 1 per samara, reddish brown, compressed-ovate to compressed-ellipsoid, .6 to .7 inch long, .24 to .3 inch wide, smooth.
Habitat: Stream banks, floodplain forests, swamps, shorelines of ponds and lakes
Distribution: East 2/3 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Comments: Acer saccharinum is widely planted as a shade tree. It has a number of undesirable characteristics, including brittle older branches that tend to break during storms, abundant fruits that germinate readily and sometimes become weedy near parent trees, and susceptibility to a number of insect pests. The twigs and leaves have an unpleasant odor when crushed or bruised. Silver maple grows rapidly and is short-lived (100-130 years) compared to sugar maple (250-400 years).

Silver maple leaf
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Silver maple leaf lower surface
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Silver maple bark
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Silver maple flowers
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Mitchell County, Kansas
Silver maple flowers
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Mitchell County, Kansas
Silver maple fruit
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Silver maple buds
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Mitchell County, Kansas