white maple

Acer saccharinum Linnaeus

Silver maple is generally distributed throughout the state, but is not nearly so common as red maple. It prefers the same general moist soil conditions, and the wood is used for the same purposes as the red maple with which it is included under the term "soft maple" by lumbermen. Frequently planted as a shade tree on account of its rapid growth, but with its weak wood it shouldn't be planted near homes or cars.

Bark - on young trunks smooth, gray in color with reddish tinge; with age becoming reddish brown in color, more or less furrowed, the surface separating in long thin flakes which become free at the ends and flake off.

Twigs - similar to red maple but having a distinctly rank odor when broken or crushed.

Winter buds - similar to red maple but larger, usually very dense clusters of lateral buds.

Leaves - simple, opposite, 3 to 5 inches long, fully as wide, 5-lobed; margins of lobes coarsely serrate; clefts between lobes, particularly the middle two, very deep; at maturity leaves pale green in color above and silvery white below, hence the name "silver maple."

Fruit - maple samaras, much larger than in the red maple though maturing at about the same time in the spring. Wings - more widely divergent than those of the red maple. Sometimes only one side of the samara develops.

Distinguishing features - silvery bark on upper limbs; deeply cut clefts between coarse-toothed lobes; rank odor from crushed twig; large-winged samaras.

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