The maple tree is the most widely known and recognized symbol of Canada. But did you know there are many different types of maple trees in Ontario?
Located in central Canada, Ontario is the country’s most populous province as well as being Canada’s fourth-largest jurisdiction by total area. Ontario shares borders with the United States territories of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, due to which the province shares flora, fauna, topography, and climate with these regions to a certain degree. In fact, almost every bit of Ontario’s close-to 1700 mile border with the United States follows inland waterways, flowing eastward along the region’s major rivers.
The province of Ontario has an absence of mountainous terrain, despite which there are large areas of uplands within the geographical region known as the Canadian Shield, which traverses the northeast to southeast regions of the province. Moreover, the Canadian Shield is populated by the Central and Midwestern Canadian Shield Forests due to the abundance of lakes and rivers in the region.
Meanwhile, the Hudson Bay Lowlands region of the province lies in the extreme north and northeast and is sparsely forested with a few swamps and wetlands. These wetlands, as well as the Shield Forests, are supported by the diverse climate of the region, classified as a humid continental climate.
This article will discuss the different types of Maple trees that can be found in the forested areas of Ontario, outlining their defining features and main characteristics along the way.
1. Silver Maple (acer saccharinum)
The Silver Maple is a species of maple indigenous to southeastern Canada as well as the Eastern United States. Known by many names, including Soft Maple, Silverleaf Maple, and Creek Maple, the Silver Maple tree has a silvery tinge to the underside of its otherwise green leaves.
The Silver Maple is one of the fastest-growing deciduous trees, growing up to 8 meters in the first ten years of its life. Usually, Silver Maples can reach heights of up to 25 to 20 meters and can be found growing in wetland areas.
2. Manitoba Maple (acer negundo)
Also known as the boxelder Maple or the ash-leaved Maple, the Manitoba Maple tree is a fast-growing tree with a short lifespan as it is indigenous to North America. As this species of Maple has been naturalized in much of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, and South America, it is sometimes considered an invasive species of Maple.
The Manitoba Maple grows up to 10 to 25 meters in height and typically only lives for about 60 years. Unlike most of the other Maple trees in Manitoba, the Manitoba Maple has what is known as pinnately compound leaves, which contain between 3 and 7 separate leaflets.
3. Striped Maple (acer pensylvanicum)
Also known as moosewood or goosefoot Maple, the Striped Maple tree is small species of Maple that is indigenous to North America. Interestingly, the Striped Maple is a sequential hermaphroditic species, meaning it can change its sex repeatedly throughout its life.
This deciduous tree grows anywhere between 5 and 10 meters in height, acting as an understory tree in forests. It is highly shaded tolerant, persisting as an understory shrub for many years before reaching its full height when it finds a gap in the forest roof.