Canadians see the maple leaf shape every time they see the Canadian flag.
You can read more about the parts of a leaf and other clues to identifying trees in the Identifying Trees section.
All the Maples have fruits in joined pairs known technically as samara but commonly called keys, that fly down from the trees like helicopters.
Originally native to China, the Paperbark Maple is a small tree that has toothed compound leaves with 3 to 5 leaflets which are bluish green above and soft grey-green below. The cinnamon-coloured bark has thin peeling and curling layers, which stand out in the winter landscape.
The Autumn Blaze Maple is a cross, also called a cultivar, between Red Maple and Silver Maple (a Freeman Maple), combining the colour of the Red Maple with the leaf shape and the hardy features of the Silver Maple.
The leaves of the Silver maple are distinctly and sharply lobed with a green surface but silvery-white underneath, and turn yellow in the fall. Mature trees have shaggy bark and brittle limbs. The flowers appear long before the leaves.
The distinctive Sugar Maples of eastern Canada turn red and orange before they lose their leaves. Sugar Maples are tapped in the spring for their sweet sap, which runs when the days are mild and sunny and the nights are frosty. It takes 40 litres or gallons of sap to boil down to one liter or gallon of maple syrup.
Artwork by Julian Mulock