Acer saccharinum

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Acer saccharinum L.


Life form: tree
Usage: economic plant / Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun - Exposure: half shade   5

Moisture: moderately moist bis Moisture: moist

Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam - Soil: sandy clay - Soil: loamy clay - Soil: peat

Arrangement: opposite
Leaves: decidious

Shape: palmately lobed

Division: simple


Shape: five-stellate
Fruit: schizocarp


1B / e2db2f 

Inflorescence: corymb

Petals: single
Habit: erect

Canopy: rounded to broadly spreading



Acer saccharinum is a tree.


Acer saccharinum was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name is considered as validly published.


Acer saccharinum is a species in the genus Acer which contains approximately 230 to 296 species and belongs to the family of the Aceraceae (Maple Family). The type species of the genus is Acer pseudoplatanus.


Acer saccharinum - habitus
Acer saccharinum - leaves
Acer saccharinum - flowers
Acer saccharinum - bark
Acer saccharinum - branches
Acer saccharinum - stems


The trees reach heights of 15 to 20 metres, the main growing season is in spring and summer. They have a rounded to broadly spreading canopy and are comparatively fast-growing. The plants reach a width of 10 to more than 15 metres.

Wood and Bark

The bark is longitudinally fissured and silver-grey.


Acer saccharinum is deciduous. The bluish green, simple leaves are opposite. They are palmately lobed and petiolate with serrate margins and palmate venation. The surface of the leaves is glabrous. The foliage is dense in summer and porous in winter and turns an attractive yellow, bright orange to dark red in autumn.

Flowers and Fruits

Acer saccharinum produces showy corymbs of erect, greenish yellow five-stellate flowers in March. The plants flower on older shoots. They are dioecious, pollination takes places by allogamy through animals.

From summer to autumn the trees produce an abundance of brown schizocarps that are both edible and very ornamental.

Root System

The plants form shallow roots.


Acer saccharinum is native to the Northeast of the US.


The trees prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on fresh to moist soil. The substrate should be sandy-loamy, gritty-loamy, sandy clay, loamy clay or peaty and comparatively poor with a pH between 4 and 7,3. The plants need a soil depth of at least 81 centimetres for good growth. They tolerate temperatures down to -29°C (USDA zone 5) and need a frost-free period of at least 17 weeks.

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • open areas

Tolerance of special soil conditions

  • low: soil salinity, drought
  • medium: calcareous soil
  • high: anaerobic soil, city climate


The ornamental value of Acer saccharinum lies especially in the attractive autumn aspect. The recommended planting distance is 2,5 metres. Suited as cemetery plant, avenue tree, specimen plant, greenery along roads and as bee pasture. From a commercial point of view the trees can be used to produce veneer. The plants have moderate potential for fuelwood production.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants usually need very little maintenance.

  • Plants can be cut back down to the trunk (coppicing) as necessary.

Propagate by sowing or by cuttings.


Pests and Diseases

Honeydew, galls and distorted leaves are a sign for an infestation with aphids. Use an insecticide or control biologically , e.g. with parasitic wasps or predators such as Aphidoletes aphidimyza.

Mealy excreta on leaves, flowers or fruits indicate in infestation with caterpillars. Crush eggs, handpick and destroy caterpillars. Also apply insecticide or use biological pest control.

Irregular swelling, so-called 'galls', may be caused by insects, mites, fungi or bacteria. Destroy affected parts. To prevent infection avoid injuring the plants and improve drainage.

Fine webs on the plants indicate an infestation with red spider mites. These sap-sucking insects mainly appear under glass and can be controlled either with insecticide or biologically with parasitic mites.

Sudden wilting and pale green discolouration indicate a fungal infection (phytophthora). Remove infected plants. Avoid by improving drainage and over-fertilization.

Scale insects that sit on the undersides of the leaves and excrete honeydew can be controlled with insecticide or biologically with parasitic wasps.


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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