Norway vs. Sugar Maples

Aug 2, 2020
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After discovering that one of the trees that I have been calling a sugar maple is actually a Norway maple, I've decided I'd better learn how to tell them apart. I've learned about the difference in their buds, their leaves and their sap. I've also learned that the Norway maple tends to stay green longer in the fall than the sugar maple. So I went for walk in the woods today (October 17) to practice telling them apart.

I think I noticed a difference that I haven't heard discussed before. The tips of the branches of Norway maple usually have just two leaves coming off opposite each other. On occasion there is a third leave at about 90 degrees to the other two.

The sugar maples usually have groups of 3 to 7 leaves clustered around the end of the branch.

Even though there is some variation from branch to branch, if I examine multiple branches on the same tree, this trend seemed to hold up pretty consistently.

Can anyone with more expertise in distinguishing the two maples confirm or refute this observation? Is it a reliable way to tell the two apart?

Also, does anyone know if the two species ever hybridize?
 

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