Bigleaf Maple


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide

Bigleaf.Jpg
BIGLEAF MAPLE
acer macrophyllum

  • The Bigleaf Maple is also known as Broadleaf Maple, Oregon Maple
  • The Bigleaf Maple is well named as its leaves are enormous with stems often as long as the leaf

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • The Bigleaf Maple is the largest and fastest growing maple in Canada
  • The Bigleaf Maple has a narrow crown supported by a branch-free stem for half its length when grown in the forest
  • When grown in the open, a few large, spreading branches support a broad crown
  • Seeds are food for small mammals and birds
  • Twigs of the Bigleaf Maple are food for elk and deer
  • Often draped in mosses

LOCATION:

  • The Bigleaf Maple is found in the southwest corner of British Columbia
  • Low to mid elevations
  • Coarse, gravelly, moist soils such as found near river, lake and stream edges

SIZE:

  • The Bigleaf Maple grows up to 36 metres

FLOWERS:

  • Small, greenish-yellow purple when young. The pollen cones are yellow in colour
  • About 3 mm across
  • Hang in clusters

FRUIT:

  • Two winged seeds that are joined as the base
  • 3 to 6 cm, hairy
  • Often stay on the tree after leaves have fallen

LEAVES:

  • Bigleaf Maple leaves are thick, large (15 to 30 cm across), five to seven lobes
  • Shiny, dark green on top, paler on the bottom
  • Turn yellow then brown in the fall
  • Will bleed a milky, sticky juice from the broken end of a picked leaf

BARK:

  • Greyish-brown
  • As the tree ages becomes shallowly grooved

WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Close grain, moderate hardness

USES:

  • Modern - furniture, interior finishing, musical instruments, flowers can be used in salads
  • Traditional - wood: dishes, pipes, clothing hooks, paddles; inner bark: baskets, rope and whisks; young shoots: eaten; sap: type of maple syrup

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Bigleaf Maple