Maples Trees In Wisconsin: Guide to the Different Varieties


Wisconsin is home to a diverse range of maple trees, each with its unique characteristics and uses.

In this article, we will explore the different types of maple trees found in Wisconsin, their features, and their significance in the region.

The main types of maple trees in Wisconsin include:

  1. Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
  2. Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
  3. Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  4. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Black Maple (Acer nigrum)

The Black Maple, also known as Acer nigrum, is closely related to the Sugar Maple and is sometimes considered a subspecies of Acer saccharum.

This tree is native to North America and can be found in areas similar to the Sugar Maple, such as New England, New York, southern Quebec, and Wisconsin.

The Black Maple is known for its prominent stipules at the base of the petiole, pubescent petiole, and undersurfaces of the leaves.

The leaves of the Black Maple tend to droop at the edges when fresh.

The tree can be tapped for sap, which is used for making maple syrup, and its wood is often sold with Sugar Maple as hard maple lumber.

Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)

The Norway Maple, or Acer platanoides, is a non-native tree introduced to the United States for ornamental landscaping purposes.

It has since become invasive in some areas, displacing native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous understory plants.

The Norway Maple can be found throughout the northeastern U.S., from Maine to Wisconsin, and south to Tennessee and Virginia.

This tree can be distinguished from the Sugar Maple by its milky white sap and purple or green buds.

The leaves of the Norway Maple are similar to those of the Sugar Maple, but the sap color and bud characteristics make it easy to differentiate between the two specie.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

The Red Maple, or Acer rubrum, is a native species in Wisconsin and is distributed throughout the state in a wide range of habitats.

It is often associated with American Elm, Green Ash, Silver Maple, and other deciduous trees that occur in soggy woodlands.

The Red Maple is known for its vibrant red twigs, buds, flowers, and fall leaves.

This tree is an important timber species in Wisconsin, making up 9.7% of roundwood production and 11.6% of all biomass.

The volume of Red Maple in Wisconsin is second only to Sugar Maple, and its volume has doubled since 1983.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

The Sugar Maple, or Acer saccharum, is the official state tree of Wisconsin and is a major forest tree in the state.

It is often the dominant species in upland forests with moderate moisture (mesic forests) .

The Sugar Maple is well-known as the source of sap used to make maple syrup and is also prized for its durable wood and vibrant autumn color.

Individual trees may live for 300-400 years if they reach the canopy layer.

The leaves of the Sugar Maple are similar to those of the Norway Maple, but they can be easily distinguished by their clear sap and medium brown buds.

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