Acer saccharum nigrum
Herb: Black Maple
Latin name: Acer saccharum nigrum
Synonyms: Acer nigrum
Family: Aceraceae (Maple Family)
Medicinal use of Black Maple:A decoction of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Rich calcareous or alluvial woods. Found in a variety of soil types, near streams, rivers and in rich woodlands, usually below 750 metres but up to 1650 metres in the south of its range.
Edible parts of Black Maple:The sap contains reasonable quantities of sugar and can be used as a drink or concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The sap can be harvested in late winter or early spring, the flow is best on a warm sunny day after a frost. Trees on southern slopes in sandy soils give the best yields. It is best to make a hole about 7cm deep and about 1.3 metres above the ground. Yields of 40 - 100 litres per tree can be obtained. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. Seed - boiled then roasted. The seed is about 6mm long and is produced in small clusters. Inner bark - cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread.
Other uses of the herb:The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them. Wood - close grained, tough, hard, heavy. Used for furniture, ship building, etc. It is a good fuel.
Propagation of Black Maple:Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. A lot of the seed is non-viable, it is best to cut a few open to see if there is an embryo. An average of 95% germination can be achieved from viable seed. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8°C. It can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking two years. 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. 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.
Cultivation of the herb:Rich calcareous or alluvial woods. Found in a variety of soil types, near streams, rivers and in rich woodlands, usually below 750 metres but up to 1650 metres in the south of its range.
Known hazards of Acer saccharum nigrum:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.