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The word ‘Acer’ comes from a Latin term meaning ‘sharp’, which is because of the pointed shape of the leaves. The shape of the leaf is well-known to many people because it is featured on the Canadian flag. Young maple trees are characterised by the smooth bark, which then becomes brown and rough as it ages. Maple trees are part of the Aceraceae family and come from the Acergenus. There are approximately 125 different species of maple trees and most of these are native to Asia, although they are most common in America.
Most maples grow to a height of between 10 and 45 metres, although some species only grow to the size of shrubs. The flowers are green, yellow, orange or red coloured and they are prized as ornamental trees, as well as being popular in the art of bonsai.
The trees have many uses; they are the source of maple syrup and the seeds are sometimes ground up and added to exotic types of coffee. The timber is also valuable as it is used to produce bowling pins, pool cues and baseball bats as well as flooring.
Maple is noted for being a hard and richly coloured wood, it is a popular choice of material that comes in a choice of tones varying between dark and very light. The light tones are provided by the sapwood type, which can offer some particularly striking pale tones for that distinctive look.
As an attractive, strong hardwood the wood is used to make highly desirable maple flooring. Those looking for flooring for their home, office, shop or public building may wish to replicate this effect with an attractive product that shows off the same pleasant, light qualities.
Submitted by Jason Ashby, UKFD