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Broadleaved Trees of Yosemite National Park (1947) by C. Frank Brockman


SUGAR MAPLE

Acer saccharum Marsh — Maple Family (Aceraceae)

Trunk detail of sugar maple
[click to enlarge]
Photo by Anderson

Trunk detail of sugar maple

This is an important tree of the eastern states. It is, perhaps, best known for the maple syrup which is derived from the sap taken from the trees in certain sections of its natural range — particularly in the “sugar bush” of New England. The two specimens of sugar maple found in Yosemite Valley have not been so used.

While the locally introduced sugar maples can be readily identified as maples due to the distinctive foliage, they are rarely recognized as distinct from the bigleaf maple which is native to this region and which is present here in relative abundance (see page 23). These two species are superficially alike in general appearance, the principal differences between the two being found in the leaves and the flowers. Although having relatively the same form, the leaves of the sugar maple are considerably smaller — being a maximum of from three to five inches in width as compared to the much larger sized leaves of the bigleaf maple. The flowers of the sugar maple (greenish yellow and appearing at the same time as the leaves) are borne in corymbs, that is in loose clusters with the long stems of the flowers having a common point of attachment on the twig. This arrangement is quite different from that of the bigleaf maple—its flowers are in racemes, elongated clusters with the flowers being borne upon short stems attached to a central axis.

The two sugar maples found just east of the general store were planted about 1902, 1903 or 1904. They are about fourteen inches in diameter and fifty feet tall.



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