Maples are dominant or abundant in several North American forest types. In 2002, two maple species (A. rubrum and A. saccharum) were among the top 10 most common tree species in the U.S., in terms of both number of trees and estimated wood volume (FIA 2011). Maple seeds, buds, leaves, and flowers serve as food for dozens of species of birds and small mammals (Martin et al. 1951), as well as numerous lepidoteran larvae and aphids. Because maples flower in early spring, their pollen is an important food for Apis mellifera (honeybees) and other insects. Maples are affected by damaging fungal diseases caused by organisms including Verticillium, Cryptostroma species, Phytophthora, and Ganoderma, as well as widespread but less severe infections known as “tar spot” (Rhytisma species), and mildew (Uncinula species).
- FIA. 2011. Current U.S. forest data and maps. Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://fia.fs.fed.us/.
- Martin, A.C., H.S. Zin, and A.L. Nelson. 1951. American Wildlife and Plants—A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. New York: Dover Publications.