Red Maple – Acer rubrum

Red Maple Seeds
Red Maple Seeds

This tree of eastern North America was exported in 1656. It was cultivated in England for the bright red flowers it produces in March and April. Maple sugar was being made by the Native Americans long before European colonists came to America, but the yield is only half as great as that from the Sugar Maple. It takes 55 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!

The inner bark is dusky red: on boiling, it yields a purple color, which with sulphate of lead affords a black dye. It makes a good black ink.

The bark is astringent and was used as a wash for sore eyes, The Native Americans taught this treatment to the settlers. An infusion is used to treat cramps, dysentery, and diarrhea. 

The wilted leaves can prove fatal to horses if the attempt to graze them. Symptoms develop three to four days after ingestion of leaves and include rapid breathing and heart rate, weakness, depression, jaundice, cyanosis, brownish discoloration of blood and urine, coma, and death.

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