Acer nigrum: Black Maple

Also named as a variety of sugar maple.

Family: Aceraceae [maple] or Sapindaceae, part of the sapindoid group.

Form: large, long-lived tree with palmately lobed leaves, winged seeds (samaras); crowns spreading and dense, especially in sun.

Range: east-central USA (+ Ontario), largely absent from southeastern Coastal Plain, Piedmont and Mid-Atlantic region.

Habitat: woods on moist base-rich soils, especially on toeslopes in hills but also common on Bluegrass uplands; very shade-tolerant.

Consumers: seeds much sought by small mammals; plants generally palatable to herbivorous mammals, reduced by cattle (also tapped by humans for sugar); host to several insect pests & diseases but severe damage uncommon; wood strong & hard but rots rapidly if exposed.

Growing notes: seeds germinate in spring, often common in mulch or mowed grass near mother trees; growth slow in shade, fast in sun.

black maple leaves
Leaves of the black maple. Image:

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