Terms of flowering honey plants in the USA and Canada

According to observations of naturalists and beekeepers.

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Common name:

Bigleaf maple

Scientific name:

Acer macrophyllum.

Other common name(s):

Bigleaf maple, Big-leaf maple, Oregon maple.

Life form:


Flowering time:

15 - 20 days.
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200 kilograms per ha


General distribution:

Bigleaf maple grows in mountainous regions. It is widespread in the Coast Ranges, the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, and the foothills of the Cascade Range and the northern Sierra Nevada, obtaining best development in southern Oregon. Some authors place bigleaf maple's distribution as far north as the Alaska panhandle. Isolated bigleaf maple populations may occur in Idaho.

Botanical description:

Bigleaf maple is a large, deciduous tree. It is typically about 50 feet (15 m) tall at maturity but sometimes grows more than 80 feet (20 m), making it the largest maple species in North America. Trees are generally as wide-spreading as they are tall. Open-grown trees usually develop broad, rounded crowns, with branches that often grow low to the ground and trunks from 2 to 5 feet (0.6-2 m) DBH. Shaded trees are usually pyramidal in form, with narrow crowns and clear, straight boles for one-half to two-thirds of their lengths

It was 88 feet (27 m) tall, 305 inches (775 cm) in circumference, and had a 104-foot (32 m) spread. On cutover sites, bigleaf maple usually grows in shrubby, multistemmed clumps. It also assumes a shrubby form in montane chaparral.

Bigleaf maple wood is moderately hard, but it is porous and not strong. Branches of mature trees are massive, spreading, and steeply inclined at the tips. The bark is thin, rarely more than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick.

Bigleaf maple typically supports many epiphytes. Mosses, liverworts, and ferns hang from its branches or grow in branch crotches. Bigleaf maple's moss load is generally the greatest of all tree species in the Pacific Northwest.

As the common name claims, the leaves of this species are big. Bigleaf maple has the largest leaves of any North American maple, ranging from 4 to 10 inches (10-25 cm) across. Male and female flowers are clustered on the same raceme. The fruit is a bristly, bewinged achene or samara bearing one seed/wing.

Bigleaf maple is deep-rooted; hence, it is ranked low in susceptibility to windthrow.

Bigleaf maples live about 50 to 200 years.

Bigleaf maple tolerates short-term flooding, surviving periodic flooding in both active and upper stream channels. It does not tolerate sustained flooding.

Seasonal development:

Bigleaf maple germinates, and trees resume growth, early in the year. Flowers bloom before or with leave emergence. Bigleaf maple regenerates from seed and by sprouting. Insects pollinate bigleaf maple; these pollinators include bees, flies, and beetles.

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