Plant of the day: bigleaf maple

The subtle colors of California fall are washing across the landscape. The scattered patches of yellow you see starting to show up in the forest are probably bigleaf maple, or Acer macrophyllum. This native tree drops its  leaves in the fall, and it is one of the few species around here that turns yellow before it turns brown.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bigleaf maple is found along the west coast from central California to the Alaska panhandle. The sap can be made into maple syrup–but this isn’t done often since the yield is lower than from the eastern sugar maple. The timber is harvested commercially. The largest known bigleaf maple is eight feet in diameter.

This tall tree drops piles of soft leaves, and is used for wildlife habitat year-round. Bugs live in its furrowed bark, and birds (including harlequin duck and pileated woodpecker, where they occur) sometimes nest in the bigleaf maple–as does the dusky footed woodrat. Deer forage and bed down in the understory of the mixed forest that this tree generally grows in.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Good for gardens, Native, Plant of the day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s