Hard as a rock, but how sweet it is! Acer, part of the maple family's latin, scientific name, means hard or sharp. And to the Romans, the wood was just that. From it, they made lance and pike shafts for battle. It was furniture, though, that bestowed the term "rock hard" on this traditional stock. As the story goes, a colonial American cabinetmaker by the name of Rock promoted his work as "Rock's Hard Maple Furniture." That's why to this day many people refer to sugar maple as rock or rock-hard maple. Sugar maple, although tough as its reputation, has a sweeter side. The other half of its genus name-saccharum-refers to its sap, a source of syrup and sugar.
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