Scans of leaves of Maples in Maxwell Arboretum
[Not to scale]
If you were to ask most anyone who—like me—grew up in southeast Nebraska in the late 1950s and early 60s, to name three "kinds of trees," maple would surely be among those they list. Maples hold a place in the popular imagination for a number of reasons: their spectacular fall color, their whirly-gig seeds, and, of course, maple syrup and maples occupy a special place in our tree loving hearts because these three things connect us to our childhoods.
If one is of a certain age and from a certain place, you walked to school in the fall kicking mountains of maple leaves and when you arrived at your classroom your teacher had maple leaves—real or cut from the ubiquitous elementary school "construction paper"—thumb-tacked to the bulletin board. Then, in the mid-sixties we were inundated with information about Canada's independence and its new maple leaf flag. Back in those days, we still ate a lot of real food and when winter set in we sat down to plates of home made waffles and pancakes drenched in what we called maple syrup, whether or not it came from actual maple trees or just the Log Cabin bottle.* And in the glorious returning spring, thousands of Silver Maple seeds helicoptered through the air and into our waiting grasping hands.
David Lentink, Caltech
There are maples scattered throughout Maxwell Arboretum but a number of them are located between the Yeutter Garden and the Loerch Gazebo.
This is an image of the Norway Maple leaves that were found in a birch bark container carried by Ötzi, the Iceman discovered in 1991 in the Tyrolian Alps. He used them, freshly picked, to insulate the fire starting embers that he carried with him. They are over 5,000 years old.
Acer rubrum "Autumn Flame'
Acer tataricum ginnala
Acer saccharum nigrum