In the Garden
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
*Also known as bird’s eye maple and hard maple
Well known for its fiery autumn colors, the sugar maple grows to a height of sixty to seventy-five feet, and it can spread forty to fifty feet wide at maturity. Its dark green leaves have three to five lobes and can reach a width of six inches. This tree produces clusters of small, greenish-yellow flowers in April and May. Pairs of winged seeds mature in September and October. Maple bark is rough and gray.
Maple’s species name saccharum, means “sugary,” which refers to the tree’s sweet sap.93 The folk name bird’s eye maple refers to the eye-like patterns that are revealed when the wood is cut. The name hard maple comes from the hardness of its wood. In Old English the maple was called a mazer or maser tree in reference to the name of a drinking bowl made from a large maple burl.94
If green leaves are still available, place one under a green candle on your altar to attract prosperity. Sprinkle dried red leaves as part of a spell to attract or rekindle love. Place a few winged maple seeds and dried leaves in a sachet and hang it on a bedpost to foster prophetic dreams. For esbat rituals, use seeds to make a circle on your altar with the seed ends touching each other and the wings pointing outward. Press a variety of colored leaves in a book, and then place them on your desk or workspace to boost creativity. Look for fallen maple branches as they make excellent wands.
Maple is associated with the elements air and earth. Its astrological influence comes from Jupiter. This tree is also associated with the goddesses Athena, Rhiannon, and Venus.