Acer is the scientific name for the maple tree. The name “Acer” comes from Latin ǎcěr which means “sharp”, making reference to the sharpen tips of its leaves (the leaves of most species are palmated). Maple species are found in the Northern Hemisphere; they are originally from Asia, and there is a number of them also found in Europe, northern Africa and North America. Maples trees grow from 30 to 145 feet. Some species from Mediterranean region and southern China are evergreen.
Maple is a symbol of strength and endurance. Some species of maple are planted as ornamental trees and most species are used in the art of bonsai. In Japan, it’s a custom in autumn to see the changing colour of maple’s leaves – in a similar way as they do in spring when cherries blossom – making the reddish maple leaf symbol of autumn. Depending on the species, its leaves may turn from green to yellow, orange or reddish tones.
The maple tree in different cultures
Maple syrup was well known in the time of the native Americans, and it was an important part of their diet. The maple leaf is a national symbol in Canada, and it can be found in its flag and coins. In English-speaking countries, this tree was believed to repel demons and evil spirits, and it was the custom to have a piece of a maple tree in the main door. Furthermore, it is an important tree in the Celtic mythology: it was a tree consecrated to Dana, the Celtic goddess of fertility. It is also known as the tree of the tolerance. In China, maple is associated with honour and its leaves are a motif in Japanese ukiyo-e paintings representing love and autumn.
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