In tree form, Hard Maple is usually referred to as Sugar Maple, and is the tree most often tapped for maple syrup. Sugar Maple’s leaves (pictured below) are the shape that most people associate with maple leaves; they typically have either 5 or 7 lobes, with vivid autumn coloring ranging from yellow to purplish red. Hard Maple ought to be considered the king of the Acer genus. Its wood is stronger, stiffer, harder, and denser than all of the other species of Maple commercially available in lumber form. (It’s also the state tree in four different states in the US.
Hard Maple is a very strong hardwood with a closed, subdued grain and a uniform texture. The sapwood is a lovely creamy white, while the heartwood ranges from creamy white to light reddish brown. Unless otherwise specified, figuring such as curly, birds-eye, quilted, or fiddleback is slight. Due to its light color and durability, Hard Maple is a popular choice for a "contemporary" look. Because it is so dense, it does not take stain well.