Silver Maple
Acer saccharinum

Location in Ontario

Silver Maple grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward. It grows on moist soil along streams and swamps.


Large Silver Maples in spring at St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, Norfolk County. The spring colours for 2012 were unusually red.
 

Genus Acer
Maple trees have simple, lobed leaves that are opposite and decussate (successive pairs are 90 degrees to each other). Check this link for more about decussate leaf arrangement:

Maples are known for their beautiful fall colours. Maples are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree, although some species are solely male or female. 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.

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

In the Landscape
Silver Maple is a large tree, up to 35 metres, which lives up to 135 years of age. It has been a preferred landscape tree for its fast growth, beautiful leaves and large canopy. It must be placed carefully because it has weak branches susceptible to wind, and shallow wide-spreading roots.


Large spreading Silver Maple, St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre

Leaves
Silver Maple leaves have 5-7 pointed lobes. They are light green above and silvery underneath. Leaves turn yellow, deep gold or sometimes red.
Bark
The bark is gray with long, thin flakes.
Flowers
Silver Maple is monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Flowers appear before the leaves in very early spring; one of the earliest trees to flower, and the earliest of Maples! Pollination is by wind.
Fruit
The fruit is a single seed is contained in a key; a doubly-winged samara. Keys twirl to the ground, dispersed by wind and water in the spring. Silver Maples produce yearly fruit after 10 years of growth.

Wood
Silver Maple has soft wood, and is sold collectively with Red Maple as "Soft" Maple.
Specific gravity: 0.47
Janka Hardness: 700 lb

Wood Comparison Chart


Early leaves and keys

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Silver Maple.

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