Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Southern Sugar Maple, Florida Maple
Acer barbatum

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: barbatum (bar-BAY-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Acer floridanum
Synonym:Acer nigrum var. floridanum
Synonym:Acer saccharum var. floridanum
Synonym:Saccharodendron barbatum
Synonym:Saccharodendron floridanum

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By grafting
By budding

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #1 of Acer barbatum by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #2 of Acer barbatum by Jeff_Beck

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Thumbnail #3 of Acer barbatum by Jeff_Beck

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Thumbnail #4 of Acer barbatum by Jeff_Beck

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Thumbnail #5 of Acer barbatum by Jeff_Beck

By designart
Thumbnail #6 of Acer barbatum by designart

By frostweed
Thumbnail #7 of Acer barbatum by frostweed

There are a total of 10 photos.
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4 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Fires_in_motion On Oct 18, 2014, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The only one I definitely know of in real life is the one at Hilltop Arboretum in Baton Rouge. It's wide and casts tons of shade onto the benches where plants are grown and sold at their plant sales. (In fact, I'd always been so busy looking at the plants on the benches that I assumed the shade was coming from a live oak, until I actually stood back and looked at the tree finally.) I would love to plant one in my yard, though I don't really have room. Its slow growth rate, small leaves, and low overall height make it a good candidate for planting here in the hurricane zone. The specimen I mentioned is growing amid partial shade from surrounding pine trees. And it's at the top of a hill, as you might've guessed by the name of the place, hence the roots don't get soggy. Not sure if that is a good or a bad thing for this particular species.

Neutral janlark On Nov 21, 2009, janlark from Auburndale, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Found a 24-inch volunteer sticking out of some Indian hawthorne, probably the gift of a bird. Will try to transplant it to a sunny area at the end of an ornamental dry streambed. There's a large Muskogee crape myrtle at the other end. Hope to post a positive follow-up report with photo next autumn.

Positive wormfood On Jan 13, 2009, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

They are happier with alot of water. Mine is doing well in my regular Florida sand. Last year we had a spring drought and lost all the leaves, turned bright yellow as if it was winter coming. When the rains came it grew new leaves and I decided to amend the soil in case that happens again. One planted in the shade of a pine tree gets red/ orange fall colors. One planted in full sun gets bright yellow colors.

Positive frostweed On Aug 31, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Acer barbatum is Native to Texas and other States.

Positive escambiaguy On Jan 12, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have found these trees to look much better when given some afternoon shade. I had one planted in full sun and it always looked scorched. I moved it beneath a larger tree and it started looking and growing better. I think they are naturally slow growers though. The fall color is a nice orange-red.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 28, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Sugar maple is most abundant on moist rich soils on slopes and ridges, where it grows in mixed hardwood forests. There are several regional sub-species some of which may be considered separate species by some authorities. It does not tolerate heat nor air pollution well.

Some neat tidbits: It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup using sugar maple sap (which is collected in the spring) - and - charcoal made from sugar maple is used to "mellow" Jack Daniels whiskey.

Neutral Copperbaron On Jan 6, 2002, Copperbaron from Vicksburg, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:

The southern sugar maple, or Florida maple, is found in the middle south, lower south, and coastal south. It is native to Virginia south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. It grows to 25-30'. It is a great tree for fall color usually turning bright yellow with an occasional orange/red tint. It is similar to Acer saccharum, but is smaller, has smaller leaves, paler bark, a more open habit of growth, and is better adapted to the low, wet coastal plains of the South. Generally an understory tree. Worthy of cultivation for reliable yellow fall color in the South.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Jacksonville, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Moultrie, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Carriere, Mississippi
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Arlington, Texas

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