There are well over 200 various trees in the family of trees that is known as maple.
They are widely distributed around the world, usually in further northern climates, and are wide spreading trees, which have very thick leaves, which they lose in the autumn, otherwise known as deciduous.
The leaves to a maple can vary in size from just over two inches up to five inches, depending on the variety of maple.
Maple trees reproduce by shedding what are known as helicopters, small dual seed pods that when hit with a light breeze will fall spinning like helicopter propellers to the ground.
In the seed pod, are two seeds, which are actually the fruit of the tree, held together by two thin nearly transparent wings.
The second claim to fame of the trees in the maple family is the sap, from which maple syrup and maple syrup candy are made.
The sap of a maple tree contains a far higher amount of sugar than any other tree, and of these, the sugar maple contains the highest amount.
Nearly any maple tree may be used to make syrup, but the sugar maple, which is also called the hard maple, has the sap which makes the best sugar and syrups because of its lighter colored and sweeter syrup.
The Maple is a very slow growing tree, and can live to be well over 100 years old.
It will grow to be more than 100 feet tall in many areas, and can be more than a yard in diameter when fully grown.
A tree cannot be tapped for its sap until it is over a foot in diameter because doing so is damaging to the tree. Maple trees can be aged by the use of the rings, called growth rings. The tree attains a ring for each year of its life, which vary in size according to the weather and other conditions during the year.
The rings, when counted, can tell you not only the trees age, but also by the way in which the ring is formed, which years were leaner for rain, and whether at some point in its life the tree was exposed to a storm or wind.
Sugar maples, such as those used to make the best syrups in the world, are found only on a single area world wide.
They range from southern Canada, down into the Northern part of the United State, encompassing Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
The reason for this is that this part of the world is the only one which has the right conditions for the trees to grow, with the weather, such as daytime and nighttime temperatures, and frosting playing an important part in the growth of these trees.
The production of maple syrup is therefore limited to this area.
The maple tree is also much loved for another reason aside from its syrup.
It is very much in demand for its very hard and beautiful wood. Many varieties of maple produce intricate and lovely grain patterns, many of them such as the bird’s eye in circular patterns. The wood is also very hard, which makes it extremely sturdy and long lasting.Find out more about Maple Trees over at Wikipedia »