Silver Maple

Acer saccharinum

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Silver Maple is a medium-sized tree, growing up to 80 feet tall. It has a very stout trunk, which can be over three feet wide.

Silver Maple grows on streambanks, in marshes, and in other places with moist soil.

The leaves of this tree are up to six inches long, with five lobes. The lobes have large teeth. The top side of the leaf is dull green, the bottom is silvery-white.

Leaves turn yellow in the Fall.

Silver Maple bark is gray and becomes furrowed and shaggy with age.

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Merel R. Black, Wisconsin State Herbarium

The flowers of this tree start as reddish buds, then turn yellowish-green. They grow in clusters. Silver Maple blooms in late Winter and early Spring.

Silver Maple fruits are called samaras. Samaras grow in pairs. They have a wing and are up to two and a half inches long.

Samaras spread mostly by wind.

Virginia Tech

Some other plants that often grow with Silver Maple include: Red Maple, American Elm, American Sycamore, Black Willow, Sweetgum, Elderberry, Greenbrier, Jewelweed, Poison Ivy, Joe-pye Weed, and milkweed.

The seeds of Silver Maple are eaten by Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, finches, squirrels, Eastern Chipmunk, other small mammals, and Wood Ducks.

White-tailed Deer and Eastern Cottontail eat leaves and stems. Beaver eat the bark. Squirrels also eat the buds.

Many birds roost in Silver Maple and sometimes different species roost together. Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, European Starlings, and Brown-headed Cowbirds often roost together.

Courtesy of the Illinois State Museum

Erv Evans, North Carolina State University

Silver Maple has very soft wood. This means there are very often cavities (holes) in the trunks where animals can live. Cavities in Silver Maple are often homes to many birds and mammals, including: Wood Duck, woodpeckers, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Raccoon, Virginia Opossum, and bats.

The soft wood also allows many species of fungi to grow.

Leaves of Silver Maple are eaten by several species of moths, including Cecropia Moth, White-tussock Moth, and Gypsy Moth.

Silver Maples grow quickly, but they are often damaged or knocked over by wind and ice.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Wild Turkey

Red-winged Blackbird

Red Maple

Poison Ivy H

Northern Bobwhite

Common Grackle

Sweetgum

Mossy Maple Polypore H

American Goldfinch

European Starling

American Elm

Jack O'Lantern H

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Brown-headed Cowbird

American Sycamore

Artist's Conk H

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

Black Willow

Maple Gall Mite H

Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Common Elderberry

Oystershell Scale H

Beaver

Raccoon

Greenbrier

Common Greenshield C

White-tailed Deer

Virginia Opossum

Spotted Jewelweed

Eastern Cottontail

Black Rat Snake

Poison Ivy

Carolina Chickadee

Pileated Woodpecker

Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Maple Gall Mite

Common Milkweed

Raccoon

Barred Owl

Smooth Sumac

Meadow Vole

Big Brown Bat

Common Reed

White-footed Mouse

Eastern Bluebird

Tussock Sedge

White-marked Tussock Moth

Carolina Chickadee

Black-eyed Susan

European Gypsy Moth

White-marked Tussock Moth

Running Cedar

Maple Gall Mite

European Gypsy Moth

Kentucky Bluegrass

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Great Crested Flycatcher

Black Locust

True Katydid

Crane Fly

River Birch

Oystershell Scale

Oystershell Scale

Relationship to Humans:

Because the wood of Silver Maple is so soft, it is not used for many things. It is used for pulp (paper) and firewood. Trees are often planted as shade trees because they grow so quickly. They are also useful for controlling erosion.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Sapindales
FAMILY
Aceraceae
GENUS
Acer
SPECIES
Acer saccharinum

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