Black maple is a close relative of sugar maple (A. saccharum), the two being difficult to distinguish, with the black supposedly having darker bark and less sharply defined leaf lobes. It is distinctly more southern in its range but has nevertheless grown well at Mustila from seed collected at Guelph in south Ontario in 1992. It is said to be very drought-tolerant, and hardy in both the heat and the cold of the American Midwest.
Sugar maple resembles closely the native Norway maple (A. platanoides) but its native habitat is the east of the North American continent in temperate climates. It is one of Canada’s most valuable broadleaves, a large long-lived tree. In the landscape it is at its best in autumn, showing long-lasting glowing colours from yellow through red and orange shades. The common name comes from the traditional use of its sugar-rich sap in making maple syrup.