Black Maple or Black Sugar Maple TreeThe Black Maple, or Black Sugar Maple (Acer nigrum, Michx.), is now counted a distinct species, but was long regarded as a variety of Acer Saccharum. The best year-round character to look for is the orange colour of the stout branchlets.
The tree's head is less compact and has a duller, darker green foliage mass than that of the hard maple. The leaves vary much in size and shape, but in general have three pointed lobes with broad, shallow sinuses and scantly toothed or unbroken margins; the basal sinus is often closed by the overlapping of its sides.
The leaf is usually green on both sides, and smooth, with hairy tufts along the principal veins below, and on the petioles. The drooping of the leaves is very noticeable, as if the stout petioles were too weak to support their burden. The samaras differ from those of the previous species in having more widely divergent wings.
The black maple predominates over A. Saccharum in the Western prairie states. It is the sugar maple of South Dakota and Iowa. In the East, it is a rare tree. It ranges from Montreal to Ontario and to the Dakotas, and from New Hampshire and Vermont south to lower Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and eastern Kansas.
It is an admirable shade and sugar tree, and its wood has the characteristics of the rock maple.