One of the most common and popular trees in the northern hemisphere, the maple is famous for many things — spectacular fall color, the Canadian flag, the delicious syrup on your waffles and pancakes. But long before its nectar graced our breakfast tables, the maple was famous for one of its less edible qualities.
A deeper dive into Acer, the latin name for the maple tree genus, reveals that the word means "sharp." It's a reference to the quality of the wood. Maple, a hardwood, was a popular choice for spear makers as far back as the Neanderthals due to its strength and ability to make rigid, deadly points.
On your next walk around the park or leaf-foraging adventure, don't forget the maple's storied history as our ancestors weapon of choice.