Black Maple - Acer saccharum var. nigrum

Black Maple is a less common variation (some consider it a full species) of the Sugar Maple in Ontario, but its hard, strong wood is an important part of the furniture and flooring industries.  Black Maples can cross with the more common Sugar Maples forming offspring with characteristics similar to both parents. Black Maple leaves can be distinguished by the undersurfaces, which are downy, and the drooping nature of the deep green leaves. By contrast, Sugar Maple leaves are much flatter and hairless, and tend to be a brighter yellowish-green.

Black Maple Bark
The bark of the Black Maple is sometimes darker than that of the Sugar Maple but, as this photo of a lighter specimen shows, this is not a consistent feature. Photo by Brian Lacey.

Black Maple in the fall
Most leaves turn yellow-brown in the fall but some can be orange.

Black maple leaf
This Black Maple leaf has a lot of orange in it.

Black Maple Leaf
Black Maple leaves usually only have three distinct lobes and are more rounded and droopy than Sugar Maples. Photo by Brian Lacey.

Underside of a Black Maple Leaf
The undersides of Black Maple leaves are fuzzy. Photo by Brian Lacey.

Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Black Maples. 1995-1999.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Black Maples. 1995-1999.

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Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.  

Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp

Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.