As the area’s autumn display winds down, there were still a few magnificent maples helping to brighten the dreary days.
(There are still lots of colorful oak trees, but they’ve already been featured in a post.)
Maple trees are the most common trees found in the United States, according to gardenerdy.com.
In an article titled “Red Maple Tree Facts” by Maryann Ullmann on sciencing.com, the author said that red maples are often one of the first trees to turn.
The article also said “red maples are fast-growing and can reach 40 feet to 90 feet tall and 150 years of age and trunks can grow up to 30 inches in diameter.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ tree information guide lists five types of maple trees: red, silver, striped, mountain and sugar.
The guide said that the red maple is the most abundant tree in Pennsylvania growing in a wide variety of habitats, typically reaching 80 to 100 feet tall.
According to the guide, the silver maple is found in moist woods and on stream banks throughout Pennsylvania, the largest reaching 100 feet tall. The guide also said that the trees’ fruit is the largest of the native maples with wings 2 inches long.
The striped maple is “common in the mountainous parts of the state on moist, cool, shaded slopes and in deep ravines. Its distinctive white stripes make it an attractive ornamental species,” the DCNR tree guide said. It is a small tree reportedly only reaching 25 to 30 feet tall.
The sugar maple, also called the rock maple, “is an important timber tree and is found on moist wooded slopes throughout Pennsylvania, typically reaching 90 feet high,” the guide said.
The sugar maple wood is used for furniture, musical instruments and flooring and the sap is tapped for maple syrup production, according to the guide.
Meanwhile, a check of big trees at www.pabigtrees.com, finds a silver maple along Gravel Pit Road in Cochranton, Crawford County, among some of the state’s largest maples.
However, the tree was nominated in 2010 and last measured in 2009, so it’s hard to tell if more recent records exist.
The site also listed a large silver maple in Clarion County, located at Route 322 east of Clarion at Sliver Lane.
It was nominated in 1986 and last measured in 2006.
Several sites appear to tout the medical benefits of the red and sugar maple trees.
According to the site botanical.com, the bark of the red “has astringent properties and has been used medicinally as an application for sore eyes, a use which the early settlers learned from the Red Indians.”
It also added that “the inner bark is dusky red: on boiling, it yields a purple color, which with sulfate of lead affords a black dye. It makes a good black ink.”
The website www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net listed some medicinal uses for the sugar maple.
The site claimed that a tea made from the inner bark is a blood tonic, diuretic and expectorant.
“It has been used in the treatment of coughs, diarrhea and more. A compound infusion of the bark has been used as drops in treating blindness. The sap has been used for treating sore eyes. The inner bark has been used as an expectorant and cough remedy,” the site said.
While the validity of the medical claims of maple trees may not be verified, they’re colorful leaves may just be the cure for the bleak weather which has now extended into November.
Meanwhile, the region got a taste of snow earlier last week. In this blogger’s neck of the woods, the snowfall lasted about an hour and accumulated just enough to make traversing the paths a little tricky.
(A Walk in the Woods contains photos from newsroom staffer Anna Applegate’s daily jaunts around her neck of the woods. Tagging along on the treks are dogs, Buford, Sherman and Sadie, and goats, Kyle and Kennedy. Applegate manages the Good Times and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)