Herbs & Plants

Liquidambar styraciflua

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Botanical Name : Liquidambar styraciflua
Family: Altingiaceae
Genus: Liquidambar
Species: L. styraciflua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Common Names:American sweetgum or redgum

Habitat :Liquidambar styraciflua is native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico and Central America.
Liquidambar styraciflua grows in moist to wet woods, tidal swamps, swampy bottomlands, streambanks, and in clearings and old fields or dry-mesic to mesic upland forests, mixed forest edges, rock outcrops. It grows best grows best on rich, moist, alluvial clay and loamy soils of river bottoms

Liquidambar styraciflua is a medium-sized to large tree, growing to 20–35 m (65-115 ft), rarely to 41 m (135 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 2 m (6 ft) in diameter. Trees may live to 400 years.
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The leaves usually have five (but sometimes three or seven) sharply pointed palmate lobes. They are 7–19 cm (rarely to 25 cm) long and broad, with a 6–10 cm petiole. The rich dark green, glossy leaves generally turn brilliant orange, red, and purple colors in the autumn.

This autumnal coloring has been characterized as not simply a flame, but a conflagration. Its reds and yellows compare to that of the maples (Acer), and in addition it has the dark purples and smoky browns of the ash (Fraxinus). However, in the northern part of its range, and where planted in yet colder areas, the leaves are often killed by frost while still green. On the other hand, in the extreme southern or tropical parts of its range, some trees are evergreen or semi-evergreen, with negligible fall color.

The male and female inflorescences are separate on the same tree.

The distinctive compound fruit is hard, dry, and globose, 2.5–4 cm in diameter, composed of numerous (40-60) capsules. Each capsule, containing one to two small seeds, has a pair of terminal spikes (for a total of 80-120 spikes). When the fruit opens and the seeds are released, each capsule is associated with a small hole (40-60 of these) in the compound fruit.

Another distinctive feature of the tree is the peculiar appearance of its small branches and twigs. The bark attaches itself to these in plates edgewise instead of laterally, and a piece of the leafless branch with the aid of a little imagination readily takes on a reptilian form; indeed, the tree is sometimes called Alligator-wood

The roots are fibrous; juices are balsamic.

The tree secretes an aromatic fluid, which when processed is called styrax

Additional characteristics of Liquidambar styraciflua include:

*Leaves: Alternate, three to five inches long, three to seven inches broad, lobed, so as to make a star-shaped leaf of five to seven divisions, these divisions acutely pointed, with glandular serrate teeth. The base is truncate or slightly heart-shaped. They come out of the bud plicate, downy, pale green, when full grown are bright green, smooth, shining above, paler beneath. In autumn they vary in color from yellow through crimson to purple. They contain tannin and when bruised give a resinous fragrance. Petioles long, slender, terete. Stipules lanceolate, acute, caducous.
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*Flowers: March to May, when leaves are half grown; monoecious, greenish. Staminate flowers in terminal racemes two to three inches long, covered with rusty hairs; the pistillate in a solitary head on a slender peduncle borne in the axil of an upper leaf. Staminate flowers destitute of calyx and corolla, but surrounded by hairy bracts. Stamens indefinite; filaments short; anthers introrse. Pistillate flowers with a two-celled, two-beaked ovary, the carpels produced into a long, recurved, persistent style. The ovaries all more or less cohere and harden in fruit. Ovules many but few mature.

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*Fruit: Multicapsular spherical head, an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, hangs on the branches during the winter. The woody capsules are mostly filled with abortive seeds resembling sawdust.

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*Bark: Light brown tinged with red, deeply fissured, ridges scaly. Branchlets pithy, many-angled, winged, at first covered with rusty hairs, finally becoming red brown, gray or dark brown.

*Winter buds: Yellow brown, one-fourth of an inch long, acute. The inner scales enlarge with the growing shoot, becoming half an inch long, green tipped with red.

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While the starry five-pointed leaves of Liquidambar resemble those of some maples (Acer), such as the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), and the Norway maple (Acer platanoides), Liquidambar is easily distinguished from Acer by its glossy, leathery leaves that are positioned singly (alternate), not in pairs (opposite) on the stems. The long-stemmed fruit balls of Liquidambar resemble those of the American sycamore or buttonwood (Platanus occidentalis), but are spiny and remain intact after their seeds are dispersed; the softer fruits of Platanus disintegrate upon seed dispersal.

Medicinal Uses:
In Appalachia, water- or whiskey-soaked twigs are chewed to clean the teeth, Native Americans used the resin to treat fevers and wounds.  The gum was used by early settlers to treat herpes and skin inflammations.  It has also been applied to the cheek to ease toothache.  The bark and leaves, boiled in milk or water, have been used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.  The boiled leaves have been applied to cuts and used for treating sore feet.  The aromatic drug resin storax, an expectorant and a weak antiseptic used for treating scabies, comes from this tree. It forms in cavities of the bark and also exudes naturally. It is harvested in autumn. Production can be stimulated by beating the trunk in the spring. The resin has a wide range of uses including medicinal, incense, perfumery, soap and as an adhesive. It is also chewed and used as a tooth cleaner and to sweeten the breath.  It is also chewed in the treatment of sore throats, coughs, asthma, cystitis, dysentery etc.  Externally, it is applied to sores, wounds, piles, ringworm, scabies etc.  The resin is an ingredient of ‘Friar’s Balsam’, a commercial preparation based on Styrax benzoin that is used to treat colds and skin problems. The mildly astringent inner bark is used in the treatment of diarrhea and childhood cholera.

Other Uses:
Liquidambar styraciflua is valued as a cultivated ornamental tree, and in its natural habitats, as a timber tree and for its dramatically colored fall foliage. The resin for which it was named also has various uses

Disclaimer: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


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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Herbs & Plants

Mahonia bealei

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Botanical Name : Mahonia bealei
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Mahonia
Species: M. bealei
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names: Beale’s barberry, Leatherleaf Mahonia, Leatherleaf Holly, Mahorina

Habitat : Mahonia beal is native to E. Asia – W. China in Hupeh, Hubei, Sichuan and Taiwan. It grows in damp woodlands in uplands around 2000 metres.

Leatherleaf mahonia is an evergreen shrub with large, pinnately compound leaves. It grows in an upright, open and loose, multi-stemmed clump 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall and 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) wide. It can get as large as 10 ft (3 m) tall and 8 ft (2.4 m) wide. The erect stems are stiff and unbranched, and the leaves come out in horizontal tiers. The leaves are about 18 in (46 cm) long with 9 to 13 stiff, sharply spiny, hollylike leaflets. The leaflets are dull grayish blue-green above and pale yellowish green below, and about 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long and 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide. The terminal leaflet is larger than the lateral leaflets. The fragrant lemon-yellow flowers, appearing in late winter, are borne in erect racemes 3-6 in (7.6-15 cm) long. The fruit is a berry, first green, then turning bluish black with a grayish bloom. They are about a half inch long and hang in grapelike clusters.

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Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Pest tolerant, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen, Woodland garden. Thrives in any good garden soil[11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Survives under quite heavy tree cover, thriving in dense shade. Prefers a semi-shaded woodland position in a damp, slightly acid to neutral humus-rich soil. The fully dormant plant is hardy to about -20°c, though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Scarcely distinct from M. japonica, differing mainly in its broader leaflets which are placed closer together on the stem and its erect flower raceme. It is often treated as a subspecies of M. japonica, despite the fact that this species is found in the wild whilst M. japonica is a cultigen and not a wild plant. Plants of the two species are often confused in cultivation. The flowers are sweetly scented. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It usually germinates in the spring. ‘Green’ seed (harvested when the embryo has fully developed but before the seed case has dried) should be sown as soon as it is harvested and germinates within 6 weeks. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in late winter or spring. 3 weeks cold stratification will improve its germination, which should take place in 3 – 6 months at 10°c. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division of suckers in spring. Whilst they can be placed direct into their permanent positions, better results are achieved if they are potted up and placed in a frame until established. Leaf cuttings in the autumn.

Edible Uses:.....Fruit raw or cooked. A pleasant acid flavour, it is nice when added to muesli or porridge. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds. The fruit is about 10mm long and 6mm wide, it ripens in April/May and if the plant is in a sheltered position the crops can be fairly heavy.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the root and root bark is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, recurring fever and cough in rundown body systems, rheumatoid arthritis, backache, weak knees, dysentery and enteritis. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumor activity. The taste is bitter.  The plant detoxifies, reduces inflammations and breaks fevers. Anti-influenza effect of alkaloids from roots of Mahonia bealei. was studied in vitro. The experiment in embryo indicated that the alkaloids at concentration of 0.25 mg/ml obviously inhibited the proliferation of influenza virus Al, and at concentration of 20 mg/ml showed no side-effect on embryo.

The leaf is febrifuge and tonic. A decoction of the root and stems is antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, depurative and febrifuge. A decoction is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, recurring fever and cough in rundown body systems, rheumatoid arthritis, backache, weak knees, dysentery and enteritis. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects  and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine.  Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Other Uses:
The shade tolerant leatherleaf mahonia is a popular shrub in the southern US and similar climates, producing dense clusters of very fragrant, golden yellow flowers. These showy blossoms stand above its evergreen foliage in late winter or early spring when few other plants are blooming. Use this spiny, gangly shrub on the north side of a building, where shade excludes most flowering shrubs. You can plant a leatherleaf mahonia in front of a window, and still be able to see out between the vertical stems and horizontal layered foliage. It often is used as a border or foundation plant as well. The coarse texture and clumsy form may not suit well in a neat, formal garden, but leatherleaf mahonia can be pruned to a single-stemmed specimen. To keep a denser form, prune out a few of the tallest stems each spring to encourage new stem growth from the base. Prune out a few leaves to accentuate the layered effect. With creative pruning, leatherleaf mahonia has a dramatic silhouette.

The fruits are much relished by birds, and are usually devoured within days of ripening. Leatherleaf mahonia can be grown in containers and can be used as a large houseplant.

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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Herbs & Plants

Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum – Lam.)

Botanical Name: Acer spicatum – Lam.
Family : Aceraceae/Sapindaceae

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Acer
Species: A. spicatum
COMMON NAMES : mountain maple, low maple, moose maple, water maple, moosewood, plaine batarde, erable ,fouereux

North-eastern N. America – Saskatchewan to Labrador, south to Wisconsin and Georgia.The tree lives in moist woods in rich, well-drained soils on rocky hillsides and along streams. It also grows on ravines, cliff faces, and forested bogs. During ecological succession, it colonizes the understory as pioneer species die.  Deep rich moist soils in cool habitats such as the edges of mountain streams, ravines or woodlands.Woodland Garden; Canopy; Secondary;

It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3-8 m tall, forming a spreading crown with a short trunk and slender branches. The leaves are opposite and simple, 6-10 cm long and wide, with 3 or 5 shallow broad lobes. They are coarsely and irregularly toothed with a light green hairless surface and a finely hairy underside. The leaves turn brilliant yellow to red in autumn, and are on slender stalks usually longer than the blade. The bark is thin, dull gray-brown, and smooth at first but becoming slightly scaly. The fruit is a paired reddish samara, 2-3 cm long, maturing in late summer to early autumn.
It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Cultivation :
Of easy cultivation, it prefers a sunny position and a good moist well-drained soil but succeeds on most soils, especially those on the acid side, and dislikes alkaline soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -35°c when fully dormant. The lower branches of trees often self-layer, the trees then forming an impenetrable thicket. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 – 4 months at 1 – 8°c. It can be slow to germinate. The seed can be harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Plants often self-layer in the wild. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 – 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. Strong plants are usually produced by this method.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Sap.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.
A sugar is obtained from the sap. The sap can be used as a drink or boiled down to make maple syrup. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The sap can be harvested in late winter, the flow is best on a warm sunny day after a frost. Trees on southern slopes in sandy soils give the best yields. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates.

Medicinal Action & Uses :
Astringent; Ophthalmic; Poultice.
The North American Indians made an infusion of the pith of young twigs and used this as eye drops to soothe irritation caused by campfire smoke. The pith itself was used to remove foreign matter from the eyes. An infusion or poultice made from the outer bark has been used to treat sore eyes. A poultice made from boiled root chips has been applied externally to wounds and abscesses. A compound infusion of the roots and bark is used to treat internal haemorrhage.

Disclaimer: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.

Other Uses
Preservative; Soil stabilization; Tannin.
The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them. The bark contains tannins, but the report does not say in what quantity. The trees have an extensive root system that can be used to bind the soil. They are often grown on banks in order to prevent soil erosion. The wood is close-grained, soft and light, weighing 33lb per cubic foot.


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Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name: Acer

Family: N.O. Aceraceae

Habitat: The Maples, belonging to the genus Acer, natural order Aceraceae, are for the most part trees, inhabitants of the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, particularly North America, Northern India and Japan. There are approximately 125 species, most of which are native to Asia, but several species also occur in Europe, northern Africa, and North America.

Description: The leaves are long-stalked, placed opposite to one another, and palmately lobed; the flowers, in fascicles appearing before the leaves as in the Norway Maple, or in racemes appearing with, or later than, the leaves as in the Sycamore Some of the flowers are often imperfect.


The dry fruit, termed a ‘samara,’ is composed of two one-seeded cells, furnished with wings, which divide when ripe, the winged seeds being borne by the wind to a considerable distance.

The leaves of the Maples commonly exhibit varnish-like smears, of sticky consistence, known as honey-dew. This is the excretion of the aphides which live on the leaves; the insect bores holes into the tissues, sucks their juices and ejects a drop of honeydew, on an average once in half an hour. In passing under a tree infested with aphides the drops can be felt like a fine rain. The fluid is rich in sugar. When the dew falls, the honey-dew takes it up and spreads over the leaf; later in the day evaporation reduces it to the state of a varnish on the leaf surface, which aids in checking transpiration. Many other trees exhibit this phenomenon, e.g. lime, beech, oak, etc.
Most of the Maples yield a saccharine juice from the trunk, branches and leaves. The wood of almost all the species is useful for many purposes, especially to the cabinetmaker, the turner and the musical instrument-maker, and for the manufacture of alkali the Maples of North America are of great value.

Many species with finely-cut or variegated leaves have been introduced, especially from Japan, as ornamental shrubs, most of them remarkable for the coppery-purple tint that pervades the leaves and younger growths.

The Common Maple (Acer campestre, Linn.) is the only species indigenous to Great Britain. This and the Sycamore, or Great Maple, were described by Gerard in 1597, the latter as ‘a stranger to England.’

Botanical Name: Acer campestre
Though a native tree, Acer campestre is not often seen growing freely for the sake of its timber, being chiefly looked upon as a valuable hedge-tree, and is therefore frequently found in hedgerows.
When growing alone it is a small tree, seldom attaining more than 20 feet, but the wood is compact, of a fine grain, sometimes beautifully veined and takes a high polish. For this reason, it is highly praised by the cabinet-maker and has always been used much for tables, also for inlaying, and is frequently employed for violin cases. The wood makes excellent fuel and affords very good charcoal.

The wood of the roots is often knotted and is valuable for small objects of cabinet-work.
The young shoots, being flexible and tough, are employed in France as whips.
Sap drawn from the trees in spring yields a certain amount of sug.

Botanical Name:Acer saccharinum (LINN.)
Acer saccharinum (Linn.), the Sugar or Bird’s Eye Maple, is an American species, introduced into Britain in 1735.
It bears a considerable resemblance to the Norway Maple, especially when young, but is not so hardy here as our native Maple and requires a sheltered situation.

So far it has only been grown as an ornamental tree, the vivid colours of its foliage in winter ranging from bright orange to dark crimson. Sometimes it attains a height of 70, or even 100 feet, though more commonly it does not exceed 50 or 60 feet. It is remarkable for the whiteness of its bark.

Where the tree is plentiful in America, the timber is much used for fuel and is extensively employed for house-building and furniture, used instead of Oak when the latter is scarce, being also employed for axletrees and spokes, as well as for Windsor chairs, shoe-lasts, etc. The wood is white, but acquires a rosy tinge after exposure to light. The grain is fine and close and when polished has a silky lustre.

The wood of old trees is valued for inlaying mahogany. The name ‘Bird’s Eye Maple’ refers to the twisting of the silver grain, which produces numerous knots like the eyes of birds. Considerable quantities of this Maple are imported from Canada for cabinetmaking.

The wood forms excellent fuel and charcoal, while the ashes are rich in alkaline principles, furnishing a large proportion of the potash exported from Boston and New York.

Large quantities of sugar are made from the sap of this species of Maple. The sap is boiled and the syrup when reduced to a proper consistence is run into moulds to form cakes. Trees growing in moist and low situations afford the most sap, though the least proportion of sugar.

The trees are tapped in early spring, just before the foliage develops, either by making a notch in the stem, about 3 feet from the ground, with an axe, or by boring a hole about 2 inches deep and introducing a spout of sumach or elder, through which the sap flows into a trough below. The sap is purified and concentrated in a simple manner, the whole work being carried on by farmers, who themselves use much of the product for domestic and culinary purposes.

A cold north-west wind with frosty nights and sunny days tends to incite the flow, which is more abundant during the day than during the night. The flow ceases during a south-west wind and at the approach of a storm, and so sensitive are the trees to aspect and climatic variations that the flow of sap on the south and east sides has been noticed to be earlier than on the north and west sides of the same tree.

The sap continues flowing for five or six weeks, according to the temperature. A tree of average size yields 15 to 30 gallons of sap in a season, 4 gallons of sap giving about 1 Ib. of sugar. The tree is not at all injured by the tapping operation.

The quality of Maple Sugar is superior to that of West Indian cane sugar: it deposits less sediment when dissolved in water and has more the appearance of sugar candy.

The profits of the Sugar Maple do not arise from the sugar alone: it affords good molasses and excellent vinegar. The sap which is suitable for these purposes is obtained after that which supplies the sugar has ceased to flow.


Botanical Name: Acer pseudo-Platanus (LINN.
Acer pseudo-Platanus (Linn.), the Sycamore or Great Maple (the Plane-tree of the Scotch), grows wild in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy. It is remarkably hardy and will grow with an erect stem, exposed to the highest winds or to the sea-breezes, which it withstands better than most timber trees, being often planted near farmhouses and cottages in exposed localities for the sake of its dense foliage.
Description: It is a handsome tree, of quick growth, attaining a height of 50 or 60 feet in 50 years. Though not a native, it has been cultivated here for four or five centuries, and has become so naturalized that self-sown examples are common.

The timber was formerly much used by the turner for cups, bowls and pattern blocks; and is still in repute by the saddlemakers and the millwright, being soft, light and tough.

In spring and autumn, if the trunk is pierced, it yields an abundance of juice, from which a good wine has been made in the Highlands of Scotland. Sugar is to a certain extent procured from it by evaporation, but 1 ounce to 1 quart of sap is the largest amount of sugar obtainable.

The leaves may be dried and given to sheep in winter.

The lobed shape of its leaf and its dense foliage caused it to be confounded with the True Sycamore (Ficus sycamorus) of Scripture.

Botanical Name: Acer Platanoides

Acer Platanoides, the Norway Maple, grows on the mountains of the northern countries of Europe, descending in some parts of Norway to the seashore. It abounds in the north of Poland and Lithuania, and is common through Germany, Switzerland, and Savoy.
It was introduced into Great Britain in 1683. It is a quick grower and on a tolerable soil it attains a large size (from 40 to 70 feet).

Description: The leaves are smooth and of a shining green, as large or larger than those of the Sycamore, and are seldom eaten or defaced, because the tree is full of a sharp, milky juice disliked by insects. In the spring, when the flowers, which are of a fine yellow colour, are out, this tree has great beauty.

The wood is used for the same purposes as that of the Sycamore.

Sugar has been made from the sap in Norway and Sweden.


Botanical: Acer rubrum (LINN.)
Swamp Maple. Curled Maple.

Acer rubrum (Linn.), the Red or Swamp Maple, is another American species, a middle-sized tree, introduced here in 1656, but so far only cultivated in England as an ornamental tree, for the sake of its striking bright scarlet flowers, which appear before the leaves in March and April, its red fruit and leaves rendering it very attractive also in autumn.
The wood is applicable to many purposes, such as the seats of Windsor chairs, turnery, etc. The grain of very old trees is sometimes undulated, which has suggested the name of ‘Curled Maple’: this gives beautiful effects of light and shade on polished surfaces.

The most constant use of Curled Maple is for the stocks of fowling pieces and rifles, as it affords toughness and strength, combined with lightness and elegance, but on the whole the wood is considered inferior to that of the Bird’s Eye Maple, both in strength and as fuel.

Sugar has been made from the sap by the French Canadians, and also molasses, but the yield is only half as great as that from the Sugar Maple.

The inner bark is dusky red: on boiling, it yields a purple colour, which with sulphate of lead affords a black dye. It makes a good black ink.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The bark has astringent properties and has been used medicinally as an application for sore eyes, a use which the early settlers learnt from the Red Indians.

It occurs in long quilled pieces 6 to 12 inches or more in length, 1/4 to 3/4 inch wide, externally blackish brown, slightly polished, with innumerable fine transverse lines and scattered, brownish, warts. The inner bark is in very tough and fibrous layers, pale reddish brown or buff. The bark has an astringent and slightly bitter taste.

The CHINESE SUGAR MAPLE is Sorghum saccharatum (known also asAndropogon arundinaceus, var. saccharatus), a cane-like plant containing sugary sap, belonging to the Grass family Graminaceae.

It somewhat resembles Indian corn, or maize, from which it is distinguished by producing large heads of small grains.

It is cultivated in the United States to some extent as a forage crop, but is not used in the manufacture of sugar, owing to the difficulty of effecting its crystallization.

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