Acer skutchii – the Rare Mexico Mountain Sugar Maple

Dave Creech

While sugar maple enjoys a sizeable market in the U.S and many cultivars are available, the Mexico mountain sugar maple or skutch maple, Acer saccharum ssp. skutchii, remains relatively unknown. This disjunct wing of sugar maple has endured over 9000 years of divergent evolution apart from relatives in eastern North America (4).  The tree is similar in many respects to Acer saccharum, sugar maple, and Acer saccharum var. floridanum (syn. A. barbatum), the Florida maple, but features larger leaves, and perhaps the biggest samaras found in Aceraceae.  The skutch maple offers opportunities for enhanced growth rate, interesting fall and spring foliage color, alkalinity tolerance, drought tolerance and good adaptation to well drained sunny locations in landscapes of the southern USA, east to west.  Dirr lists 47 varieties of sugar maple in the industry (1).  None include the diverse genetics of this western relative, the skutch maple…

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