The characteristically shaped cordate leaves are about 5 by 5 inches, five-lobed with coarse teeth, and silvery below. The sap, which is not milky, is a source of maple sugar. A large specimen is at 579 Alvarado Row, on the right next to the fence. The silver maple growing at 733 Mayfield Avenue was planted in 1958 by faculty youngster and future arborist Phil Cannon. Three trees are near Palo Alto’s College Terrace Library, east side of the park.
The famous sugar maple, A. saccharum, has similar leaves except that they are not cordate and have few teeth. The sap, which is not milky, is the source of the tasty maple sugar and maple syrup. The beautiful fine-grained wood is valuable and versatile. In our climate, sugar maples need summer water, but we have suitable lawns. I am not aware of any on campus.
Name derivation: Acer – Latin for maple; saccharinum – sugary (the sap).
About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Family name updated from Aceraceae to Sapindaceae Oct 2017 (SP).