Sugar Maple - Acer saccharum var. saccharum

The maple is Canada’s national tree, and it is likely that the Sugar Maple was the source of inspiration for our flag! The strong, fine-grained wood of this species is valued for furniture, instruments, and panelling, but Sugar Maple is likely the most famous for maple syrup. Sugar Maple sap has the highest sugar content of Ontario maple species, at about 3-6%.  This means that it takes 30 to 40 L of sap to make 1 L of syrup! This shade tolerant species is often a dominant canopy species throughout the northeastern hardwood forests of North America.

Sugar Maple Leaves
Note the 5 palmate lobes with rounded “U” shaped notches – Red Maple has sharp “V” shaped notches.  Photo by Brian Lacey.

Orange Sugar Maple Leaves
The Sugar Maple is responsible for most of the orange colours in our fall leaf palette.

Sugar Maple Tree In Field
This quintessential Canadian tree grows up to 35m tall with a dense rounded canopy. This specimen is growing beside our gazebo near The Arboretum Centre.

Sugar Maple in the fall
Another fall colour shot. Photo by Alan Watson.

Sugar Maple Twig
Sugar Maple twig. Photo by Brian Lacey.

Sugar Maple Bark
The grey, plated bark of a Sugar Maple. Photo by Brian Lacey.

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