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  • Writer's pictureOlivine Moss

Maple Tree Myths, Legends, Poetry and Planting

Updated: Jun 16










Myths and Legends

Indigenous Legends Canada

In Indigenous cultures and their legends in North America, the Maple Sapling was a name from the Iroquois Legends, who was also known as Ioskeha, Little Sprout.

Maple Sapling was also known in Indigenous cultures as Right Handed Twin, Dear Lil Sprout, The white One, and Sapling.

Maple Sapling is one of the twin sons of Ataensic the Sky women in the Iroquois culture. Ioskeha and his brother were opposites. Ioskeha was born naturally and without strain, and his brother Tawiscara (Flint) burst out of the side of their mother's womb killing her. The brothers were opposites throughout their lives, in some legends, Tawiscara is manipulative and antagonizing while Ioskeha was gentle, well-mannered, and meek. Others depict them as balanced with each other representing light and dark, day and night.

The Ojibwe Maple spirit was named Ininatig or was the word for Maple.

Anishinaabeg an Ojibwe tribe was known to harvest maple syrup from the sugar maple trees. The sap was known as ninaatigwaaboo , maple tree water.

A story called “Bgoji-nishnaabenhsag – Little people” was told by the Anishinaabeg to explain how they learned to tap the sugar maple trees. The story describes a tribe of little people who have lived on earth a very, very long time and cannot always be seen, but continue to be around. The little people would appear in dreams and tell the Anishinaabeg how to tap and boil maple syrup.

Chinese Culture

This tree has a special significance for many Chinese people, especially those who are involved in public service or aspire to achieve a higher status in society.

The maple tree is considered a masculine tree, with strong and sturdy branches that can withstand harsh weather. It is also a tree that changes color with the seasons, showing its adaptability and resilience. In autumn, the maple leaves turn red, orange, or yellow, creating a stunning contrast with the green landscape. This is why the maple tree is often associated with beauty, elegance, and grace.

But the maple tree is not just a pretty sight. It also has a deeper meaning that relates to rank, promotion, or higher authority. In ancient China, the maple tree was used by politicians and officials as a symbol of their power and prestige. They would plant maple trees in their gardens or courtyards, or wear maple leaves as ornaments on their robes or hats. The maple leaf was also a common motif on seals, coins, and paintings.

The maple tree was also revered by Taoists, who believed that it had magical properties. They would use maple wood to carve talismans or amulets for protection, healing, or success. They would also burn maple leaves as incense or use them in rituals to communicate with the spirits or the gods.

The maple tree is still a popular symbol in modern China, especially during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. This is a time when people celebrate the harvest and enjoy the moonlight with their families and friends. Many people like to admire the colorful maple leaves during this festival, and some even write poems or songs about them.

It is a tree that represents strength, beauty, honor, and wisdom and it is a tree that inspires people to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals.


Medicinal Purposes

Maple syrup was used in ancient times to strengthen bones, immunodeficiency, and blood pressure regulation and contains antioxidants. Good minerals for the human body



"I laid me down one day in June;

It was late-long after noon-

A very sultry summer's eve,

Such times the senses oft deceive.

The place was 'neath a maple tree,

Soon from all cares and troubles free,

By a gentle, kindly slumber,

No more our sorrows we could number.

But we heard a plaintive wail,

Such as we find in fairy tale ;

It was the genius of the tree,

Who, in sad guise, appeared to me.

And then she sadly did give vent

Unto this awful, grave lament,.." James Mycintyre


Growing a Maple Tree from Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide

Maple trees are a majestic addition to any landscape, offering shade in the summer and spectacular foliage in the fall. Growing a maple tree from seed can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to observe the full cycle of tree development. Here's a concise guide to help you start your own maple tree from seed.

Seed Collection

The best time to collect maple seeds is when they turn from green to yellow to brown, indicating they are ripe. Ensure you choose mature seeds that have naturally fallen from the tree.


Maple seeds require a period of cold stratification to mimic winter conditions and break dormancy. Store the seeds in a refrigerator, within moist peat moss or a similar medium, for 90 to 120 days before planting.


After stratification, plant the seeds about three-quarters of an inch deep in moist soil. It's advisable to start the seeds in a container before transplanting them outdoors. Keep the soil consistently moist and place the container in a warm location with plenty of sunlight.


With the right conditions, your maple seeds will germinate. This process can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on the maple species and the conditions provided.


Once the seedlings have grown strong enough, usually in the following spring, you can transplant them to your yard or garden. Choose a spot with good sunlight and well-draining soil. Be careful not to bury the stem of the seedling when planting.

Continued Care

Water your young maple tree regularly, especially during dry periods. As it grows, ensure it has enough space to expand and receive adequate sunlight.

By following these steps, you can successfully grow a maple tree from seed and enjoy its beauty for years to come. Remember, patience is key, as trees take time to grow and mature. Happy planting!


Further Reading and Resources

Native American Indian Maple Tree Medicine, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes. (n.d.).

chass_wp-admin. “Ninaatigwaaboo (Maple Tree Water): An Anishinaabe History of Maple Sugaring.” Ninaatigwaaboo (Maple Tree Water): An Anishinaabe History of Maple Sugaring, 15 July 2015,

“Why the Maple Tree Represents High Authority Status.” FengShuied, 28 Apr. 2020,

“James McIntyre : Read Poems by Poet James McIntyre.” James McIntyre : Read Poems by Poet James McIntyre, 25 May 1828,

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