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Edible uses


Edible young shoots - cooked. They are used like asparagus[1]. The seedlings, gathered in early spring, are eaten fresh or can be dried for later use[2].

The dried crushed leaves have been used as a spice[3]. Seeds - cooked. The wings are removed and the seeds boiled then eaten hot[2]. The seeds are about 6mm long[4].

Inner bark[1]. No more details are given but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is usually only used when all else fails[1].

Unknown part

Inner bark


Material uses

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them[5][6].

A fibre obtained from the inner bark is used for making mats, rope etc[7][3]. The bark has been used to make spoons, paint containers etc[3].

Wood - tough, hard, heavy, close grained, pliable[4][7]. It weighs 37lb per cubic foot[8]. The wood can also be used as friction sticks[7]. The green wood can be moulded.[7] The wood is too small for commercial exploitation, though it makes a good fuel[7][9]. It was often used by native North American Indian tribes for making small items such as snowshoes, drum hoops, bows and pegs[3].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A decoction of the wood and bark is said to cure nausea[2]. Another report says that this is specifically the nausea caused by smelling a corpse[3]. An infusion of the bark has been used as a cathartic[3]. A decoction of the branches, together with the branches of Amelanchier sp., was used to heal a woman's insides after childbirth and also to promote lactation[3].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Secondary canopy

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8°c. The seed has a hard coat and can be slow to germinate, often taking 2 years. The seed can be harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all[10][11]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions.

Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus.

Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. It is very difficult to find suitable wood for cuttings.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Acer glabrum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Of easy cultivation, it succeeds in any soil, preferring a good moist well-drained soil[12]. Prefers a sunny position but tolerates some shade[12][13]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH.

Hardy to about -25°c[14]. This species grows well at Kew, a specimen was 12 metres tall in 1967[12]. The tree is almost fastigiate[12]. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[5][6].

Trees are usually dioecious. Male and female trees must be grown if seed is required[15].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Acer glabrum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Acer glabrum.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Acer glabrum
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    9 x meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    2. ? Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    3. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    4. ? Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    5. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    6. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    7. ? Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    10. ? McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
    11. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    12. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    14. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    15. ? Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
    16. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-60