Maples are very popular worldwide. They are a family of 132 species with each serving different and unique characteristics. Sugar maple and red maple are amongst the popularly known maple species, and they are widely grown all over the world. They both have similar leaf shapes and outlooks, which often confuses people. However, they both are very different.
Sugar Maple vs Red Maple – Difference
Red maple and sugar maple both have similar leaf shapes. However, they can be easily distinguished regarding their serrations and the different colors of their leaves. Also, their fruits can be distinguished easily. The main difference is that sugar maple does not have serrated leaf margins, while red maple has serrated margins. The fruits of sugar maple are green in color, while red maple fruits are bright red in color. Also, the undertone of the leaves of the sugar maple is slightly lighter than the top, while the undertone of the leaves of the red maple is much lighter than the top.
These are the main differences between the two species. Let us discuss them in detail below.
Sugar maple is one of the species of maple that is a shade-tolerant deciduous tree. It is widely found in eastern Canada and the eastern North America region. Sugar maple is also commonly known as hard maple and is commonly grown as a shade tree and an ornamental tree. Also, sugar maple is popularly used to make maple syrup.
The leaves of sugar maple are lobed with 5 lobes, and the leaf margins are smooth and U-shaped but not serrated. The surface color of the leaves is dark green, while the undertone of the leaves is lighter green. However, the color difference is very minimal.
The young barks of the sugar maple are smooth and light brown in color. But with time, the barks get fissured and turn darker in color. Further, sugar maples are known to have yellow flowers, and they can be monoecious or dioecious, which means they can have both male and female flowers or just one. And the fruits, which are called samaras, are green in color.
Red maple is also known as soft maple or water maple. It is widely found in eastern and central North America and is grown as both an ornamental and shady tree. Due to this reason, they are commonly seen in parks and gardens.
The leaves of red maple are lobed with 3-5 lobes, and they are relatively long, ranging from 6-10 inches. It has leaf margins that are serrated, and the serrations are fine and irregular. The surface color of the leaves is green, which tends to turn red and purple during fall. And the undertone of the leaves is a lot lighter than the color of the surface.
The young barks of the red maple are smooth and light brown in color. With time, these barks tend to turn rough and darker in color. Further, the flowers of red maples are red in color, unlike sugar maple, and there are both male and female flowers in the same tree. Lastly, the fruits, called samaras, are bright red in color.