Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Mountain Maple
Acer spicatum
Aceraceae

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them[18, 20].

The bark contains tannins, but the report does not say in what quantity[223].

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[226].

The wood is close-grained, soft and light, weighing 33lb per cubic foot[82, 235].

  • Medicinal Use

    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[226, 257]. The pith itself was used to remove foreign matter from the eyes[257]. An infusion or poultice made from the outer bark has been used to treat sore eyes[257].

    A poultice made from boiled root chips has been applied externally to wounds and abscesses[257].

    A compound infusion of the roots and bark is used to treat internal haemorrhage[257].

  • Edible Use

    A sugar is obtained from the sap. The sap can be used as a drink or boiled down to make maple syrup[183]. 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.

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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[80, 113]. 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[226]. 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.
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[182]. 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[226]. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[18, 20].
North-eastern N. America – Saskatchewan to Labrador, south to Wisconsin and Georgia.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.