Maple – Spectacular Leaves and Tasty Syrup
Maples are trees and shrubs that are often planted in parks and along city streets. Their leaves form a thick dome and in autumn they turn spectacular shades of yellow, orange, and scarlet.
There are about 200 different species of maple. They grow throughout much of North America, Europe, and northeastern Asia. They can grow to be more than 40 meters tall. The leaves usually have several fingerlike sections called lobes. Flowers appear in early spring. The fruit of maple trees is a hard pebble-sized structure with a pair of thin wings.
Sugar maples have sweet sap that is used to make maple syrup. These trees grow in Canada and the United States. People collect the sap in late winter or early spring. Sugar maples do not produce sap until they are about 40 years old! Sugar maple is the national tree of Canada, and a stylized leaf of this species is featured prominently on the Canadian flag.
Black maple is rather similar in appearance to sugar maple, but its leaves have a more threelobed appearance.
Red maple is another widely distributed species, occurring over much of eastern North America, from northern Ontario to southern Florida.
The Manitoba maple is the only species of maple that has a compound leaf, consisting of three to seven leaflets.
Rose maple is a tall symmetrical tree attaining a height of 35 m with a stem diameter of 1.25 m. This species occurs along the eastern coast of Australia from the Upper Williams River area, near Barrington Tops, New South Wales, to the MacPherson Range in southern Queensland.
Japanese red snake-bark maple has green bark with white stripes and a very upright form.
Maple wood can be used for making furniture, cabinets, interior trim, hardwood flooring, and other products.
In most cultures of the world maple is a symbol of autumn. In Japan, it symbolizes eternity, learning, and life wisdom. The Germans associate it with the beauty of life. Products made of maple bring love into our home. Branches, seeds and leaves of maple protect man and his place from evil.
It is proved that maple sap helps treat more than 45 diseases.