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Sugar or Black maple?

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:12 pm
by sjhalow
What is the ENTS' official position on these two species? I know there is some controversy here, and the two species often hybridize. I've not noticed them being treated separately in any of the the field reports, etc. Though I confess I haven't done a thorough investigation. Is there a reliable way to tell them apart during winter when no leaves are available?

Re: Sugar or Black maple?

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:28 pm
by edfrank

There have been posts in which the two species are differentiated. I think the two should be considered separate species for our purposes. In general we do not have an official opinion on much of anything except measurement techniques. I think the tendency is to call something a sugar maple unless the characteristics of black maple is pretty clear. I am not great at winter ID so I will let someone else post on that subject.


Re: Sugar or Black maple?

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:26 pm
by Steve Galehouse
I think sugar and black maples are certainly distinct species which intergrade----the typical forms of each are very distinct; at the very least as distinct as several species within the black oak group(red, pin, black, scarlet) which also hybridize and intergrade.

From my experience, black maple always has thicker and more heavily plated bark, usually but not always darker in color. In summer black maple leaves are of a heavier texture than sugar, are often larger, and tend to droop or "flag".


Re: Sugar or Black maple?

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:24 pm
by sjhalow
Thanks for the feedback. In my explorations I haven't found any significant examples of either species. But if I do I'll will be sure to properly identify the tree.