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Wasatch Wilderness: Bigtooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum Nutt.)

WASATCH MOUNTAINS, Utah. The bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum Nutt.), also known as canyon maple, is an indigenous tree to Utah. Bigtooth maples are the western relatives of sugar maples, and their sap can be made into syrup. The leaves, seeds, buds, and flowers provide food for countless species of birds and small mammals.

Bigtooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum Nutt.) Bright Red Leaves – photo: Ashley Brown

Depending on its proximity to a water source and annual moisture, bigtooth maples vary drastically in size, from a small to medium shrub to a 40-foot high tree. Bigtooth maples are prominent at the bottom of canyons and moist mountain areas. In dry areas, they often grow alongside Gambel oaks.

The shiny green deciduous leaves put on a spectacular autumn show displaying warm hues from fire engine red to burnt orange to golden yellow.

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