The sugar maple (also called hard or rock maple) tree is known for its spectacular red, orange, and yellow fall colors. Native to the northeastern United States, the sugar maple is well known as the source of maple syrup and maple wood for furniture. It is a short-trunked, large, spreading tree that can reach heights of 50 to 70 feet or more. The pointed leaves are four to six inches across, with five lobes. Chartreuse flowers appear in early spring preceding the leaves.
How to grow: The sugar maple requires well-drained, fertile soil and plenty of room to grow. Do not plant it in dry, compacted soil or too close to streets where road salt is used.
Related species: Among the larger maples, the Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is particularly popular. This species offers many varieties, including some with deep purple, red, or variegated leaves. Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple, has pointed, star-shaped leaves of varying narrowness and is found in many sizes and colors.
Scientific name: Acer saccharum