The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) was designated the state tree of New York in 1956. Sometimes called hard maple or rock maple, sugar maple is one of the largest and more important of the hardwoods. Sap from the trunks of sugar maples is used to make maple syrup. Sugar maple leaves also turn bright colors in autumn, contributing to New York's spectacular fall foliage. Sugar maple trees seldom flower until they are at least 22 years old, but they can also live 300 to 400 years.
Sugar maple tree trunks are tapped early in the spring to collect their sap.The sap is boiled into a syrup, or concentrated further with evaporation to produce maple sugar. 34 gallons of sap are required to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup (or 8 pounds of maple sugar). The leaves of sugar maple trees turn brilliant colors of red and gold in the fall.