THE MAPLES Fourteen species of maple are native to America, nine of which occur east of the Rocky Mountains. To these have been added manv ,lapanese and European kinds which seem quite at home here, and greatly enhance the beauty of parks. avenues, and private grounds. Japan is believed to be the ancestral home of the maple family, and in spite of emigration that has scattered its species so A•klely over the earth, two-thirds of the deciduous trees to-day in the Island Empire belong to the genus Acer.
In general, maples agree in hav ing opposite leaves, which arn pal mately veined. and more or less cut into three or Iivr?. lobes. Their flow ers are small and borne in clusters which are close or elongated into racemes. The fruit of maples is the must distinctive character of the genus. is a pair of samaras, or keys joined at their bases, and each one Haring toward its apex into a broad thin wing. Another charac teristic of most trees in this genus is sugary sap of delicious flavor.
The Red or Scarlet Maple, _AOC/ ritbilon, loves the swamps. It grows, too, on hillsides if the soil be moist, and thrives when planted in parks and along village streets. there is one maple that excels the others in beauty, it must be this one. In early spring its swelling buds glow like garnets on the brown twigs. The opening flowers arc red: The young leaves, which open with the flowers, are red. Red also are the wings of the dainty keys as they dangle on their long flexible stems among the full grown leaves in May. The keys ripen and fall, and through the summer we find a tinge of red only in the veins of the leaves. But early in September the tree remembers ! Some morning we look across the marshy meadow, and see a Scarlet Maple like a flaming torch among the other trees. Or, far up the hillside another one, against the dark green of hem locks. shows its color like a splash of blood. All the glory of the autumn is expressed in this gor ueous tree. In winter the lover of the woods, revisiting the scenes of his summer rambles, will see the Scar let Maples standing, clean-limbed, and bare of foliage.
lle will know the trees by the knotty, full budded twigs which gleam like red-hot needles in the dusk of a winter twilight. The Red Maple never quite forgets its name.
The Silver Maple, Ater saceha riniem, is also known as the Soft and the White Maple. Its leaf is larger and more deeply cleft than that of the red maple, and has a silvery lining. The flowers are greenish, have no petals, and ex pand before the leaves. The fuzzy green fruits become and veiny as they mature. Like the red maple, this species prefers low ground: kit grows to noble propor tions even where moisture is scaree. It has a much less compact head than the red maple. Its slender branches spread widely and are disposed to droop. A beautiful cut-leaved va•i ety with weeping habit 'is called \Vier's Maple.
The Sugar, Rock, or Hard Maple, cr ssq•1nuonn, is economically the most important of the maples of this country. It is the tree from whose sap maple sugar is made. It is the tree that paints onr October land scapes with yellow and orange and red. As an avenue tree, it is unsur passed. It is also the ,great timber maple. The valuable curly and bird's-eye wools loved hv the cabi net-makor are found among Hard Maple logs as well as among those of the red maple. This curling is not a constant character, but an occasional wrinkled condition of the grain, induced by the persistence of dormant buds or by some other dis turbing causes tint \Veil 1111(lerStOC1 at present. The Hard Maple is a large, sit »v-growing true, of compact habit. Its oval head is made of many ascending branches. Its leaves aro Ii run and broad, shallowly cleft into live lobes, and variously toothed. The flowers open late. and hang on the season's shoots in yellow hairy clusters. The fruits are smooth and plump, and hang on the trees till midsummer.