by Native Vermont
The decline of the Sugar Maple can be attributed to pollution. Acid rain and soil acidification are some of the primary contributing factors to maple decline. Also, the increased use of salt over the last several decades on streets and roads for de-icing purposes has decimated the Sugar Maple's role as a "street-front" tree. The Maples role as a species of mature forests has led it to be replaced by more opportunistic species in areas where forests are cut over.
Twirly twigs? no, those are Maple seeds! The fruit is a double samara with two winged seeds, the seeds are globose with wings. The seeds fall from the tree in autumn.
Several interesting legends evolve around the branches of Maple trees:
In order to avoid the eggs of the stork being disturbed by a bat or even being killed whilst still in their shells, according to Alsatian folklore, placing branches of the Maple would ensure protection against the bat. In fact planting a branch of the Maple tree in a house was said to ensure that bats will not dare to enter.
MAPLE BRANCH NECKLACE
by Brazen Designs
Passing a young child through the branches of this tree has traditionally thought to encourage good health and a long life for the child.
Read more about folklore surrounding Maple syrup at McLure's of New England
by (yours truly) wildwood
Be sure to catch our next article in the American Hardwoods Series on Edge of the Wildwood. We'll be focusing on the distinctive features of Red Oak.