by Shahinur Islam
The maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada. As a symbol, a highly stylized eleven-pointed maple leaf, which, in fact, refers to no specific species of maple is used in the national flag. This eleven-pointed leaf represents the ten native maples of Canada, and at least one of these species grow natively in every province.
There are thirteen native maple species across North America, of which ten are native to Canada: Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Silver Maple, Black Maple, Big Leaf Maple, Douglas Maple Tree, Manitoba Maple, Mountain Maple, Striped Maple, and Vine Maple.
You can identify them separately once you carefully notice their size, colour, bark, and leaf shape. Most of the maple species contain simple leaves, except the box elder and the paperbark maple that consist of compound leaves, with three to five leaflets per leaf stock. These two species can be distinguished by looking at the bark, detailed below.
The sugar maple and the Norway maple have five large lobes, in which the sugar maple leaf has a few teeth and round spaces between the lobes. And if you rip a leaf off the Norway maple twig, you will get a milky sap from the end of the leaf, but you will not find it from the sugar maple twig.
The soft white coating on the underside of the maple leaf give you the name of a silver maple.
The red maple leaf is slightly smaller than most other species. Its most distinctive feature is a rough, saw-like edge. If the edge of the leaf appear serrated, it is most likely to be a red maple.
On a general, maple leaves comprise five tapering and pointed lobes. They are deciduous. Though some species prefer wet places, others grow mainly on uplands. So to speak, they sing with colours in fall season. Various symphonies of their splendid colours seem to form musical orchestras. Here is a feast of maple leaf images you are invited to enjoy: