Silver Maple vs Sugar Maple – What’s the difference?

Maples are very common and one of the most adored tree families. Maples are of the genus that belongs to the Sapindaceae family. There are around 132 species of maple and are widely grown all over the world. Silver and sugar maple are amongst the most common maple species that are native to mostly American regions.

Silver Maple vs Sugar Maple – Difference

Silver maple and sugar maple are both quite popular and bear similar characteristics. However, their main differences can be easily called apart by the distinction in their leaf, growth habit, and buds. Silver maple has deeply lobed leaves and yields a silver color in the underside of the leaves, while sugar maple has leaves that have shallower lobes. Silver maples are known to have multi-trunk growth habits, while sugar maples usually have single-trunk habits. Also, sugar maple is widely popular with maple syrup, while silver maple is used widely as an ornamental tree.

These are the basic differences. Let us now discuss the differences between silver and sugar maple in detail.

Silver maple

Silver maple has leaves that are deeply lobed, and the leaves are very broad and big in size. The surface color of the leaves is light green, and the underside of the leaves bears a white color. Later, these leaves tend to turn yellow during fall. The leaves are also deeply cut with irregular serrated margins.

The young barks of the silver maples are light brown in color and very smooth. With time, the barks tend to grow rough and very dark in color. Also, the woods produced by silver maple has reddish-brown color in its heartwood and white color in the sapwood.

Silver maples are known to produce male and female flowers in the same tree where the male flower is greenish in color, and the female flower is red and bright. They also grow fruits called samaras, which are bigger than the fruits produced by sugar maple. Silver maples are known to have multi-trunk growth habits but with shorter and angled trunks compared to others. It is best used for making boxes, pallets, and food.

Sugar maple

Sugar maple is another common maple species that is found widely in American regions. The leaves of sugar maple are smaller in size than silver maple and have around 5 lobes which are shallower. The leaves have a dark green color on the surface and a lighter green shade on the underside. The leaf margins are smoother than silver maple and are often U-shaped.

The young barks of the sugar maple are smooth and are brown in color. With time, it tends to become darker and also harder and fissured. Further, the woods produced by sugar maple have reddish-brown color in its heartwood and a white to an off-white cream color in the sapwood.

Sugar maple can be monoecious or dioecious. This means it can have both male and female flowers or just one. The fruits of sugar maple are also called samaras, but they are smaller. Sugar maples are known to have a single-trunk growth habit with straight trunks. They are very commonly used for making maple syrup, but it is also best used for furniture and interior finishing.

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