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



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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 tha... read more


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.


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.


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

Acer barbatum is Native to Texas and other States.


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.


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.


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.