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Sugar Maple

Scientific name: Acer saccharum

This native plant is best known for its brilliant fall color and the maple sugar that it produces. It grows to 80-100 feet with a large round crown.  This tree grows well in the shadow of other larger trees, patiently awaiting its moment to break through the canopy into the sun. It can afford the time, as a healthy tree can live for hundreds of years.

Photos courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation


August through October, the winged seeds, known as samaras, appear.

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Sugar Maples make up half of the Maple-Beech forest which occurs on moist, well-drained (not soggy) soils. They cover about 25% of Lewisboro on lower and mid-slope elevations. Good examples are found at the Brownell Preserve, where sugar maples are tapped to make maple syrup.


Smooth and grey on younger trees, it develops grooves and plates as it ages.


August through October, the winged seeds, known as samaras, appear.

Similar Species

The Norway Maple is a non-native that is more tolerant of pollution and road salt. For that and other reasons, it has been out-competing the Sugar Maple.

Ecosystem Connections

Sugar maples help other plants growing around it by drawing water from deeper soil layers to the upper, drier ones. This process is known as hydraulic lift. Learn more.

Did you Know?

Maple wood is used in many different applications, including the flooring used for NBA basketball courts, bowling alleys, stringed instruments like violins and guitars and more!

More on Trees and Shrubs in Lewisboro

Lewisboro was once entirely forested except for patches of open field caused by fire and wetlands and ponds which were expanded by beaver dams. Although it is hard to believe, by 1800 most of Lewisboro’s forests had been cut down and replaced by farms. In 1820 so many trees had been cleared that there was no shade anywhere along the route from Boston to New York.[1] But by the mid-1800’s farming here became uneconomical and as farms were abandoned, the forests began to re-grow. Today, 70% of New York is once again forest, what some call ‘the great environmental story of the United States’[2]. These new forests provide us with beauty and recreation, clean air and water, flood control, erosion prevention, carbon sequestration, cooler temperatures and habitat for other plants, insects, birds and other wildlife.

[1] Cronon, William. Changes in the Land. Macmillan, 1983.

[2] An Explosion of Green. B. Mckibben. Atlantic Monthly 275 (April 1995): 61-83.