Helping the World One Organism at a Time

Acer saccharinum is a necessary organism in our environment because of all the different organisms that rely on it for survival. These trees often have a hollow trunk creating great homes for squirrels, raccoons, birds, and many other animals. Also, they are a very important source of nutrition for many mammals and birds. These nutrients are mostly found in the fruits, buds, and twigs of the tree.

There are few parasites known to infect Acer saccharinum, but recently a fungus was found in Nevada. In 1999, a bleeding canker disease was found on multiple trees. With the use of morphological and genetic research, it was found to be fungi called Phytophthora cactorum and its close relative Phytophthora citricola. This invasion causes death in both mature and young trees.

William S. Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. This image shows the high nutrition areas of Acer saccharinum.We, as humans, also use this plant. Because of its rapid growth, many towns and cities formerly used the silver maple as street and shade trees. This quickly fell out of favor because the shallow, vast, aggressive root system destroyed sewer pipes and cables that were nearby. Another problem is that even though Acer saccharinum is a very hard wood, it is also very brittle. This characteristic causes the tree to fall and create damage even in relatively small wind storms. People currently use the wood for flooring, crate building, railroad ties, and cheaper furniture. Syrup can also be harvested from Acer saccharinum, but few do so because its close relative, Acer saccharum, produces much more.

Continue on to learn about the different adaptations.