Magnificent Maple Trees in Missouri


Missouri is home to three magnificent types of maple trees – Silver Maple, Red Maple, and Sugar Maple. These trees not only provide stunning fall colors but also have various uses.

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

The Silver Maple is a fast-growing, deciduous tree that can grow up to 100 feet tall. It has a spreading, irregular crown and is commonly found in floodplains and along streams.

The leaves of the Silver Maple are deeply lobed and have a silvery underside, which gives the tree its name. The tree produces small, reddish flowers in early spring, which are followed by the familiar winged fruits known as samaras.

The Silver Maple is a popular ornamental tree, but it is also used for lumber, furniture, and pulpwood.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

The Red Maple is a medium-sized, deciduous tree that typically grows 40-60 feet tall with a rounded to oval crown. It grows faster than sugar maples but slower than silver maples and is commonly found in drier, rocky upland areas.

The leaves of the Red Maple are three-lobed and turn a brilliant red in the fall. The tree produces small, red flowers in early spring, which are followed by the familiar winged fruits known as samaras.

The Red Maple is a popular ornamental tree, but it is also used for lumber, furniture, and pulpwood.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

The Sugar Maple is a deciduous, Missouri native tree that typically grows 40-80 feet tall (sometimes up to 100 feet) with a dense, rounded crown.

It is a main component of the Eastern U.S. hardwood forest and is one of the trees which is most responsible for giving New England its reputation for spectacular fall color.

Sugar maples are long-lived trees which grow relatively slowly and are commonly found in moist to dry upland forests, margins of glades, ledges and bases of bluffs, and stream banks.

The leaves of the Sugar Maple are five-lobed and turn a brilliant orange-red in the fall.

The tree produces small, greenish-yellow flowers in early spring, which are followed by the familiar winged fruits known as samaras.

The sap of this tree can be boiled down to produce maple syrup, a multibillion-dollar industry in North America.

FAQ

What are the native species of maples in Missouri?

Missouri has five species of maples that are either native or naturalized, plus several that are known only in cultivation. The native species are Silver Maple, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Boxelder, and Bigleaf Maple.

In Southwest Missouri, the Sugar Maple is the most popular variety and the only maple that produces a beautiful variety of yellows, oranges, and reds in the fall.

Where are maples commonly found in Missouri?

Maples are common throughout much of eastern North America. In Missouri, they are important components of many woodland communities and are typically found in moist to dry upland forests, margins of glades, ledges and bases of bluffs, and stream banks.

What is the best time to tap maple sap in Missouri?

The best time to tap for most of Missouri is usually middle to late February, but it can vary depending on the weather.

Citations:

[1] https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/maples

[2] https://www.progardentips.com/maple-trees-in-missouri/

[3] https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=h240

[4] https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6800?p=22

[5] https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/sugar-maple

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