Keystone Value: The genus Acer (Maple) supports over 280 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars, providing food for a variety of birds and mammals.
Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) is a medium to large deciduous tree that naturally grows along waterways and in wetlands, but is highly adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. The underside of its leaves has a distinct silver-green color, hence the name Silver Maple. While the flowers that appear in early spring are ornamentally insignificant, they are an important early-season source of nectar for bees. Not only is Silver Maple a keystone species that hosts hundreds of caterpillars (including the Rosy Maple Moth pictured above), but it also provides habitat and food for a variety of birds and mammals.