What sugar maple looks like

Size and shape

  • Large tree.
  • Reaches 35 metres high.
  • Reaches 90 centimetres in diameter.


  • Yellowish-green.
  • 8 to 20 centimetres long.
  • Have five lobes.
  • Turn yellow, brilliant orange or red in fall.


  • Smooth and gray.
  • Becomes darker and ridged as the tree ages.


  • Small, hanging clusters of yellowish-green flowers.
  • Appear just before leaves emerge.


  • Seeds are contained in keys that are 30 to 35 millimetres long.
  • Seeds are produced most years, with an abundant crop every 4 to 7 years.

Where sugar maple is found

Sugar maple is found in Central, Southern and parts of Northwestern Ontario.

What you need to know to grow sugar maple

  • Moisture: grows best in moist soil.
  • Shade: tolerates shade but grows better in full sun.
  • Soil: grows best in deep, rich and well-drained soil.
  • Note: Sugar maple roots are deep and wide spreading. It’s a large and strong tree, ideal for use as a shade tree.

Benefits and uses of sugar maple

Wildlife benefits

Sugar maple is a food source for many mammals, including squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, deer and moose. It is a food source and provides habitat for a variety of insects and birds.

Commercial uses

Wood from sugar maple is used for:

  • furniture, cabinetry, flooring, cutting boards, countertops and other interior finishes
  • bowling lanes
  • veneer
  • charcoal
  • musical instruments
  • sports equipment

Sap from sugar maple is used in a variety of commercial products, including:

  • maple syrup, sugar, candy, butter and coffee
  • candles

Current research

To learn about our research on sugar maple, visit our science publications catalogue and search “sugar maple”.

Fun facts about sugar maple

  • The shape of the sugar maple leaf is well known, as it’s found on the Canadian flag and is the national tree of Canada.
  • Sugar maple gets its name from the sweet sap it produces, which is used to make syrup. Other maples can be used as well, but their sap is not nearly as sweet. It takes about 40 litres of sugar maple sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup.
  • Sugar maples can live for more than 200 years.