and Deciduous Forest Trees
   of Southern Ontario

Black Maple
Acer Nigrum

Location in Ontario:
Black Maple grows in the Deciduous Forest and along part of the St. Lawrence River.

Fall colours of Black Maple, University of Guelph Arboretum

Genus Acer: Maple trees have simple, lobed leaves that are opposite. They are known for their beautiful fall colours. Maples are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Seeds are in double-winged samaras, or keys. Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, Silver Maple and the hybrid Freeman's Maple all grow in Ontario. Sugar Maples are used to make maple syrup, and the wood is valued for cabinets, flooring and furniture.

TREE FACT: Maple trees are divided into "hard" maples (Sugar and Black) and "soft" maples (Silver, Red and Freeman's).

Habitat: Black Maples grow on moist floodplains.

Landscape Use: Black Maple is a beautiful large tree, with a full canopy, that needs a lot of space.

Leaves: Black Maple leaves are similar to Sugar Maple, but have three lobes, and a wilted appearance.

The leaves of Black Maple have a wilted appearance.

FALL COLOUR WATCH:  yellow to deep gold

Golden leaves of autumn

TREE FACT: Black Maple and Sugar Maple are very similar but with noticeable differences in the leaves. Black Maple can be found in wet conditions where Sugar Maple do not occur. In other places, they occur together and often hybridize producing new trees with characteristics of both. Although Black Maple has distinct characteristics, it is genetically the same as Sugar Maple, indicating that it is in fact a sub-species.

Links:  Morphological-differences between-black-maple-and-sugar-maple  and  RAPD reveals genetic similarity of Acer saccharum and Acer nigrum

Flowers: Black Maples are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Maple flowers are variable; male and female flowers may appear in the same cluster, or in separate clusters. Flowers appear in early spring.

Black Maple seedlings,
St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre

Fruit: Black Maple seeds are contained in keys (doubly-winged samaras). Keys twirl to the ground, dispersed by wind and water, in the fall. Black Maples produce fruit after 30 years, with heavy seed crops every 4 years.   

Bark:  The bark is nearly black, and deeply furrowed.

This large tree grows to 35 metres and lives to about 200 years of age.

Wood: Black Maple and Sugar Maple have hard wood, and are collectively known as "Hard" Maple. Hard maple wood makes beautiful cabinets, furniture, flooring etc.  
Specific gravity: 0.57
Janka Hardness: 1180 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Black Maple, University of Guelph Arboretum