How to Identify Maple Trees and Liquid Amber Trees

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(Image: Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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 color of the leaves. If you notice dark, purple leaves, it is a liquid amber tree.

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