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West Virginia State Tree

Sugar MapleWest Virginia State Tree: Sugar Maple

(Aceraceae Acer saccharum)

Adopted on March 7, 1949.

The Sugar Maple, (Aceraceae Acer saccharum,) as it is known scientifically, was made West Virginia's official tree by a resolution of the 1949 Legislature.

It's wood is excellent for furniture and it produces maple syrup. A single tree is 70-120 feet high and produces two to three pounds of sugar when "sugared-off." It has a five-lobed leaf and a small wing-shaped seed pod. In the fall the leaves turn bright yellow.

Sometimes called hard maple or rock maple, sugar maple is one of the largest and more important of the hardwoods. Sap from the trunks of sugar maples is used to make maple syrup. Sugar maple trees seldom flower until they are at least 22 years old, but they can also live 300 to 400 years.

West Virginia State Tree: Sugar Maple

West Virginia State Tree: Sugar MapleSugar maple (Acer saccharum), sometimes called hard maple or rock maple, is one of the largest and more important of the hardwoods. It grows on approximately 12.5 million hectares (31 million acres) or 9 percent of the hardwood land and has a net volume of about 130 million m3 (26 billion fbm) or 6 percent of the hardwood sawtimber volume in the United States. The greatest commercial volumes are presently in Michigan, New York, Maine, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania (53). In most regions, both the saw timber and growing stock volumes are increasing, with increased production of saw logs, pulpwood, and more recently, firewood.

Identification of the Sugar Maple

  • West Virginia State Tree: Sugar MapleLeaf: Opposite, simple and palmately veined, 3 to 6 inches long, 5 lobed with entire margin; green above, paler below.
  • Flower: Yellow to green, small, clustered, hanging from a long (1 to 3 inch) stem, appearing with the leaves.
  • Fruit: Two-winged horseshoe-shaped samaras about 1 inch long, appearing in clusters, brown when mature in Autumn.
  • Twig: Brown, slender and shiny with lighter lenticels, terminal buds brown and very sharp pointed.
  • Bark: Variable, but generally grayish brown,on older trees may be furrowed, with long, thick irregular curling outward ridges.
  • Form: Medium to tall tree (to 100 feet) with very dense elliptical crown.

Taxonomic Hierarchy of the Sugar Maple

Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta --Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta --Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida --Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae --
Order Sapindales --
Family Aceraceae --Maple family
Genus Acer L. --maple
Species Acer saccharum Marsh. --sugar maple

Dendrology at Virginia Tech
US Department of Agriculture

State Trees
State Trees
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state in which they are designated.
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