ACER, L. Maple Trees. Valuable trees found all over the United States: a dozen species at least. Wood handsome and valuable for furniture, tools, guns &c. Commonly pale yellow, when veined called curled maple, dies wool and flax of a brown color; the Cherokees use the inner bark boiled for sore eyes. Maple sugar is made from their sap in the spring. The Birch tree (Betula) and Hicory trees (Hicorya) have a sweet sap as well as the Maples. The Indians made syrup and sugar from all, but chiefly from A. saccharinum, A. nigra. A. rubra, A. dasicarpa, and A. negundo, (now called Negundium fraxinifolium.) The two first, Sugar Maple and Black Maple, afford the most. This sugar is equal to the cane sugar of Saccharum officinarum. When badly made, dark and has an empyreumatic taste. When properly made, it granulates well, may be easily refined into loaf sugar, and has a pure sweet taste. The syrup made by boiling the sap is very good: when boiled longer, it becomes sugar with little care. A single tree affords from 10 to 20 gallons of sap by mere tapping, and 3 or 4 gallons give nearly a pound of sugar. We could make maple sugar in sufficient quantity for the whole use of our population, and even for exportation. But instead, the trees are wantonly destroyed or neglected. Hardly 100,000 lbs. of sugar are made annually, and chiefly in remote settlements. We ought to plant and cultivate these trees instead of destroying them, or leave from 10 to 50 on each acre of cleared land. Whole forests have lately been planted in Germany, Hungary, and France. The leaves of A. striatum, called Dockmockie maple, are used in topical application for the inflamed breast.
Medical Flora, or Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America, Vol. 2, 1830, was written by C. S. Rafinesque.