Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Lining South College Drive Map

Dozens of these trees line College Way. With over 100 species of maples worldwide identifying specific species can be challenging. However if you wait until fall you can't miss the sugar maple. Nothing looks quite like it full fall colors, as the upper picture is meant to demonstrate.

This is the tree whose leaf you encounter on the Canadian flag. Its is the main inducement to visit New England in the fall. An extract from the sap of this tree is the reason you eat pancakes, waffles or French toast for breakfast, instead of the whole grain cereal and fruit you know you should. If you know one non-native tree cold, this should be the one.

Sugar maples are native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina and west through the Great Lakes to Manitoba. Acer saccharum is planted far beyond its native range, wherever the climate will allow it to prosper. It is prized for its graceful form, its interesting gray bark and, of course, its fall colors. Trees 100 ft. high are known. One of the largest sugar maple in Washington is located in Laurel Park, Bellingham, just north of campus.