Herbs & Plants

Acer glabrum

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Botanical Name : Acer glabrum
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name ;
Rock Maple, Rocky Mountain maple, Douglas maple, Greene’s maple, New Mexico maple, Torrey maple Maple, Rock

Habitat :Acer glabrum is  native to western North America, from southeastern Alaska, British Columbia and western Alberta, east to western Nebraska, and south through Washington, Montana and Colorado to California, Arizona and New Mexico.
It grows on the edges of mountain streams, on rocks and in coniferous woods, 1500 – 2000 metres

DescriptionAcer glabrum is a small tree growing to 10 m tall, with a trunk up to 20–30 cm diameter. The leaves are 2–10 cm broad, three-lobed (rarely five-lobed), variable in the depth of lobing, occasionally so deeply lobed as to be divided into three leaflets; the lobes have an acute apex and a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are produced in corymbs of five to ten, yellowish-green, at the same time as the new leaves in spring. The fruit is a samara or winged seed. These develop in pairs at an angle of less than 45° when mature.

You may click to see the pictures of Acer glabrum

There are four to six varieties, some of them treated by some authors at the higher rank of subspecies:

*Acer glabrum var. glabrum (syn. subsp. glabrum; Rocky Mountain Maple)– Rocky Mountains, Montana to New Mexico
*Acer glabrum var. diffusum (Greene) Smiley (syn. subsp. diffusum (Greene) A.E.Murray; Rocky Mountain Maple) – eastern *California, Nevada, Utah
*Acer glabrum var. douglasii (Hook.) Dippel (syn. subsp. douglasii (Hook.) Wesm.; Douglas Maple) – Alaska south to Washington and *Idaho
*Acer glabrum var. greenei Keller (Greene’s Maple) – endemic-central California
*Acer glabrum var. neomexicanum (Greene) Kearney & Peebles (syn. subsp. neomexicanum (Greene) A.E.Murray; New Mexico Maple) – New *Mexico
*Acer glabrum var. torreyi (Greene) Smiley (syn. subsp. torreyi (Greene) A.E.Murray; Torrey Maple) – endemic-Northern California

It is sometimes referred to as “rock maple”, due to the extreme hardness of the wood, which often requires special cutting tools.[citation needed] Not to be confused with Acer saccharum, the Sugar Maple, which is also referred to as “Hard Maple” or “Rock Maple” or “Hard Rock Maple”.

Edible Uses:
Edible young shoots – cooked. They are used like asparagus. The seedlings, gathered in early spring, are eaten fresh or can be dried for later use. The dried crushed leaves have been used as a spice. Seeds – cooked. The wings are removed and the seeds boiled then eaten hot. The seeds are about 6mm long. Inner bark. No more details are given but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is usually only used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses;
Some Plateau Indian tribes drank an infusion of Douglas maple as a treatment for diarrhea. Cut into veneers, layers of rock maple laminate are frequently used in the manufacture of skateboards and the cases of some grand piano brands (most notably instruments produced by Steinway and Sons

A decoction of the wood and bark is said to cure nausea. An infusion of the bark has been used as a cathartic. A decoction of the branches, together with the branches of Amelanchier sp., was used to heal a woman’s insides after childbirth and also to promote lactation.  One tribe of southern Vancouver Island used the bark to make an antidote for poisoning.

Other Uses:
The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them[18, 20]. A fibre obtained from the inner bark is used for making mats, rope etc. The bark has been used to make spoons, paint containers etc. Wood – tough, hard, heavy, close grained, pliable. It weighs 37lb per cubic foot. The wood can also be used as friction sticks[99]. The green wood can be moulded. The wood is too small for commercial exploitation, though it makes a good fuel. It was often used by native North American Indian tribes for making small items such as snowshoes, drum hoops, bows and pegs.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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