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Sugar Maple

West Virginia State Tree

Sugar maple tree in summer foliage. Photo by Bruce Marlin on Wikipedia (published under terms of Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License).

Official State Tree of West Virginia

West Virginia designated the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) as the official state tree in 1949, after a vote by public school students and civic organizations (also the state tree of New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin). All State Trees

Sometimes called hard maple or rock maple, sugar maple is one of the largest and more important of the hardwoods. The sugar maple has a five-lobed leaf and produces a small wing-shaped pod. Sugar maple trees seldom flower until they are at least 22 years old, but they can also live 300 to 400 years. The leaves of sugar maple trees turn brilliant colors of red and gold in the fall.

Sap from sugar maples is used to make maple syrup. 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).