Acer nigrum Michx. f.

black maple

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Black maple is a graceful tree typically found on moist, high-pH soils. It very closely resembles sugar maple (Acer saccharum), but its leaves tend to be hairier and turn yellow in the fall rather than orange. It is regarded as rare in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Habitat

Floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a tree
Leaf type
the leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaves per node
there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
Leaf duration
the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf blade width
100–140 mm
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is ridged or plated
Twig winter color
  • brown
  • gray
Bud scale number
there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scale number
    there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
    Winter bud scales
    the winter bud is perulate (partially or completely covered with one or more scales)
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a corymb (with long lower branches and shorter upper branches, giving it a more or less flat-topped look)
    Number of pistils
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal appearance
    • NA
    • the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    NA
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Stamen number
    • 10
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    • the fruit is a schizocarp (when dry it splits into sections, each holding one or more seeds)
    • the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit has one or more wings on it
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    The base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, with rounded lobes)
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    the leaves have teeth only at the tips of the lobes
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the hairs on the leaf blade are different from the choices given
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    Leaf blade texture
    • the leaf blade is coriaceous (has a firm, leathery texture)
    • the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade width
    100–140 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf teeth
    • the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    • the leaf blade margin is crenate (with rounded teeth) or crenulate (with tiny, rounded teeth)
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • river or stream floodplains
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor, or it has an unpleasant or repellant odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is ridged or plated
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Pith shape
    the outline of the pith in a twig is roughly round
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig winter color
    • brown
    • gray
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)
Massachusetts
uncommon (S-rank: S3)
New Hampshire
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
Vermont
uncommon (S-rank: S3)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Acer platanoides
Acer saccharum

Synonyms

  • Acer saccharum Marsh. ssp. nigrum (Michx. f.) Desmarais
  • Acer saccharum Marsh. var. nigrum (Michx. f.) Britt.
  • Saccharodendron nigrum (Michx. f.) Small

Family

Sapindaceae

Genus

Acer

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

4.  Acer nigrum Michx. f. N

black maple. Acer saccharum Marsh. ssp. nigrum (Michx. f.) Desmarais; A. saccharum Marsh. var. nigrum (Michx. f.) Britt.; Saccharodendron nigrum (Michx. f.) Small • CT, MA, NH, VT. Rich, mesic forests, riparian forests, often in regions of high-pH bedrock. Some occurrences of this species are believed to be planted (e.g., Salisbury, CT, see Graves et al. 1910). The distinctiveness of Acer nigrum and its treatment as a taxon separate from A. saccharum has been called into question by some researchers (Skepner and Krane 1997a, 1997b). However, the authors failed to supply an adequate discussion of the morphological differences between these two species (i.e., their difficulty identifying them may be based, in part, on using too few characters). Further, they made some false assumptions that led them to a potentially incorrect conclusion. Though their research does indicate a need for additional study, it is far from conclusive. Fall foliage of Acer nigrum is usually yellow-orange, in contrast to the usual orange-colored (often brightly so) foliage of A. saccharum. This species was reported from RI by Kartesz (1999), based on George (1992); however, George (1999) stated it was not naturalized in RI.