How to Identify Maple Trees and Liquid Amber Trees

Updated July 20, 2017

With their similarly shaped five-lobed leaves, it's easy to confuse a maple tree for a liquid amber tree, and vice versa. A keen observer, when looking for the right things, though, can tell the two apart. Despite the name, liquid amber trees don't provide the same kind of sweet syrup that some varieties of maple trees do. Liquid amber trees do, however, have a fragrant resin that is routinely used in perfumes and incense.

Place the ladder under the tree. Climb up the ladder so you can closely view a branch.

Look for leaves arranged in pairs directly opposite each other on the leaf shoot. Look for horseshoe-shaped, double-winged fruit. This is a maple tree.

Look for leaves arranged on alternating leaf shoots. Look for a spiky fruit dangling from the tree. This is a liquid amber tree.

Climb down the ladder. Step away from the tree. If it is fall, look at the colour of the leaves. If you notice dark, purple leaves, it is a liquid amber tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Step ladder
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About the Author

After graduating in 1999 from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism, T.R. Miller began her journalism career. Her work has been published in the "Vail Daily," the "Vail Trail" and the "Santa Maria Times." She has won numerous journalism awards, including second place from the Colorado Press Association in 2006 for a piece about launching a community radio station.