I am beginning to wrap my brain around the difference between a sugar and a red maple, with much help from friends and family!
First the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)–samples from all over to compare
What these all have in common is the “U” shaped junction between the lobes (instead of a “V”), 5 lobes, and varying points but not toothy or jagged.
But then Ray from Incoming Bytes insists that his is a Sugar Maple. And he is Canadian and they have a maple leaf on their flag so he oughta know…. but look at his leaf:
It is very jagged and doesn’t have the “U”, so I began to doubt until I came across a Vermont Tourist website and on their foliage identification page is their Sugar Maple:
And it looks like Ray’s! Here is their description of a Sugar Maple:
“The Sugar maple leaves have 3 to 5 sharp pointed lobes and have few teeth. The space between the lopes are rounded. This tree is a favorite in Vermont for it produces Maple syrup and maple sugar. The wood of the tree is used for furniture, veneer, plywood and house modelling.” (from http://www.foliage-vermont.com)
So this remains a mystery to me–these two types of Sugar Maple leaves do not seem the same.
Now Glory from Glory’s Garden also sent me pics of a big beautiful maple on her property. She had always thought it was a sugar maple, but on further inspection she decided it was Acer rubrum (Red Maple) and I agree with her:
It looks a lot like my mom’s Red Maple:
…and my Red Maple:
But then I realized, if I look closer to the trunk on the same tree the leaves begin to look a little different with 5 lobes instead of 3:
…which is now beginning to look an awful lot like my *mystery* maple:
So the mystery leaf of my last post is indeed a Red, not a Sugar (my husband was right–how awful is THAT!)
Stan had posted a link on my last post of a diagram that shows this looking exactly like their idea of a Red Maple too: (Photo Credit)
My mother told me (and she is ALWAYS right) that Red Maples have a ton of variation in leaf shape and foliage color and timing, because it is a favorite of tree people to make different varieties from.
This is my Norway Maple. It is deep purple all summer then in fall the leaves die and fall off with no color display. Regular Norways are green–mine is a special red variety. Notice 7 lobes.
Well, that wraps up the maple lesson for today! I hope you found it as informative as I did. Many thanks to everyone who contributed expertise and opinions, and thanks to Mom, Trish, Glory and Ray for sharing photos of their own trees!