Silver Maple Acer saccharinum Linnaeus    Synonyms: Argentacer saccharinum.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Sapindales   >   Family Sapindaceae   >   Genus Acer   

Status:

Silver Maple ranges from eastern Canada to South Dakota, and south to Arkansas and Florida. It is common in swamps and along streambanks but will also grow in drier places. It is often planted as a street or shade tree, but its branches are brittle and it is not long lived. Silver Maple, along with Red Maple, is considered a "soft maple," in contrast to the other native maples, which have harder wood and are called "hard maples."

Description:

Silver Maple is a medium to large forest tree. Leaves are green above, silvery beneath, and have five deeply V-shaped lobes with teeth on their margins. Flowers are reddish green and appear in early spring, long before leaves. In fall, the leaves usually turn pale yellow. The fruits (samaras), with their widely flaring wings, are the largest of the native maples. The fruits mature in late spring and the seeds germinate at once. Bark is smooth and gray in young trees, then becomes shaggy, breaking into long, thin vertical strips that are loose at the ends.

Where to find:

Look especially along streambanks, throughout the state.

Relationships:

Silver Maple is the alternate host for the Woolly Alder Aphid.

Host plant for various moth species including Maple Tip Borer Moth, Maple Bud Borer Moth, American Dagger Moth, and Banded Tussock Moth (Database of World's Lepidopteran Host Plants).

There are 188 records in the project database.

View at Maryland Plant Atlas

Search Flora of North America

Search Mid-Atlantic Herbaria Consortium

Search Norton-Brown Herbarium

View taxon at iNaturalist

View taxon at NatureServe

Search Google Images


[View seasonality details]
GA AL WA FR CL MO HO BA BC HA CE PG AA CV CH SM KE QA CN TA DO WI SOWO 
A Silver Maple in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/26/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Cecil Co., Maryland (4/7/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

The bark of an old Silver Maple in Howard Co., Maryland (4/27/2016). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

Silver Maple growing in Kent Co., Maryland (4/16/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Washington Co., Maryland (7/5/2016). Photo by Derek Hudgins. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Howard Co., Maryland (4/23/2010). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

A Silver Maple in Allegany Co., Maryland (5/1/2014). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

The flowers of Silver Maple in Washington Co., Maryland (3/5/2017). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/21/2020). (c) Katja Schulz, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Katja Schulz via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Silver Maple with samaras in Dorchester Co., Maryland (5/9/2015). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/21/2020). (c) Katja Schulz, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Katja Schulz via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/21/2020). (c) Katja Schulz, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Katja Schulz via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Silver Maple samara in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/19/2014). Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

Silver Maple blooming in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/21/2018). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

A pair of Silver Maple keys in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/4/2014). Photo by Jamie Jorgensen. (MBP list)

A Silver Maple blooming in Harford Co., Maryland (3/17/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A pair of Silver Maple keys collected in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/19/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Talbot Co., Maryland (4/18/2017). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Silver Maple in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/15/2021). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)


View All Images

Use of images featured on Maryland Biodiversity Project is only permitted with express permission of the photographer.

View Bibliography