Sugar Maple

Acer saccharum

The Park has one sugar maple in each of the the northwest, northeast, and southeast triangles. Sugar maples are readily recognized by their leaves, and well known as the source of sap for making sugary maple syrup for your pancakes. See Wikipedia entry here.
Northeast triangle sugar maple in July.
Sugar Maple factoids:
  • The fruits of the sugar maple are called samaras and look like those of the red maple
  • To make 1 gallon of maple syrup you have to boil down 40 gallons of maple sap
  • The maple leaf on the flag of Canada most closely resembles the sugar maple leaf
  • In autumn, yellows, oranges, and reds fill the canopy of this tree. 
Second sugar maple in the northeast triangle in July
Third sugar maple, recently pruned, in the southeast triangle in July
There are three sugar maples and two red maples in the Park. Sugar maple leaf on left, red maple leaf on right.
Sugar maple leaf on top, flag of Canada with stylized sugar maple leaf on bottom
Botany 101 Bonus
 
Let's talk leaves some more. Trees and other plants have the amazing ability to make sugar out of carbon dioxide and water using the energy from sunlight. This photosynthetic activity takes place in cellular structures called chloroplasts, mediated by a green pigment molecule called chlorophyll. The chlorophyll degrades in autumn, revealing other molecules of yellow, orange, and red colors. The amino acids from this breakdown are stored in the tree and recycled as the building blocks of proteins in the spring. 
A project for the next generation of scientists is to invent an artificial leaf, a device that uses plentiful sunshine to convert the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air into food. Or, we can just plant more trees!

Matthias Baldwin Park 

423 N 19th St 

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to preserve the Matthias Baldwin Park

© 2018 Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park