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Acer saccharinum - L.                
                 
Common Name Silver Maple, River Maple, Soft Maple
Family Aceraceae
Synonyms A. dasycarpum. A. eriocarpum.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Banks of rivers, usually in sandy soils[43, 82]. Trees are occasionally found in deep often submerged swamps[82].
Range Eastern N. America - New Brunswick to Florida, west to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: Red. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Vase.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Acer saccharinum is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Feb to March, and the seeds ripen from Apr to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

USDA hardiness zone : 3-9


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Acer saccharinum Silver Maple, River Maple, Soft Maple


Acer saccharinum Silver Maple, River Maple, Soft Maple
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Inner bark;  Leaves;  Sap;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.

The sap contains sugar and can be used as a drink or be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water[4, 61, 82, 159]. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The yield is only half that of A. saccharum[2]. It is said to be sweeter and whiter than A. saccharum[183]. The sap can be harvested in the late winter, the flow is best on warm sunny days following a frost. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. Self-sown seedlings, gathered in early spring, are eaten fresh or dried for later use[177, 213]. Seeds - cooked. The wings are removed and the seeds boiled then eaten hot[213]. Good crops are produced nearly every year in the wild[229]. The seed is about 12mm long and is produced in small clusters[82]. Inner bark - cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[105, 161, 177, 257].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Ophthalmic;  Skin;  VD.

An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of coughs, cramps and dysentery[257]. The infusion is also applied externally to old, stubborn running sores[257]. A compound infusion is used in the treatment of 'female complaints'[257]. The inner bark is boiled and used with water as a wash for sore eyes[257]. An infusion is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea[257]. An infusion of the root bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[257].
Other Uses
Dye;  Preservative;  Rust;  Shelterbelt;  Wood.

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them[18, 20]. A fairly wind-tolerant tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings[200]. The branches are rather brittle, however, and can break off even in minor storms[226]. The stems are used in making baskets[257]. The boiled inner bark yields a brown dye[106]. Mixed with lead sulphate this produces a blue/black dye which can also be used as an ink[106]. A black dye is obtained from the twigs and bark[257]. The bark can be boiled, along with hemlock (Tsuga spp]) and swamp oak bark (Quercus bicolor) to make a wash to remove rust from iron and steel, and to prevent further rusting[257]. Wood - rather brittle, close-grained, hard, strong, easily worked but not durable. It weighs 32lb per cubic metre. It has many uses such as veneer, cooperage, furniture, flooring and pulp[11, 46, 82, 227, 235].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Firewood, Aggressive surface roots possible, Woodland garden. Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil[1, 11] but does well in much wetter soils than most member of the genus. Succeeds in most soils including chalk[98]. Another report says that this species is liable to become chlorotic as a result of iron deficiency when it is grown on alkaline soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moderately sunny position[11, 200]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[200]. Fairly wind-tolerant[200]. The wood is brittle and branches are liable to break off the tree in high winds[11, 200]. Trees can tolerate short periods of flooding, but are very susceptible to fire[229]. A very ornamental[1] and fast growing tree[11, 98], but it is short-lived[227], seldom surviving longer than 125 - 140 years[229]. The tree has invasive roots and these often interfere with sewer pipes and drainage tiles around houses[226]. The silver maple is a bad companion plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[18, 20]. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Naturalizing.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the spring in a cold frame. It usually germinates immediately and by the end of summer has formed a small tree with several pairs of leaves[82]. Stored seed quickly loses its viability. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8°c. It can be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1143200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[82]Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader.
[98]Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.
Very comprehensive guide to growing trees and shrubs from seed. Not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[106]Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Interesting reading but short on detail.
[159]McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana.
A nice pocket guide to this region of America.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[226]Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada
Very good on identification for non-experts, the book also has a lot of information on plant uses.
[227]Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas
A readable guide to the area, it contains descriptions of the plants and their habitats with quite a bit of information on plant uses.
[229]Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
[235]Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Michael Retardo Wed Oct 20 22:47:56 2004
Very nice find. Had to do a project for Science class and info helped alot.
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