|Cedar Waxwing sipping sap from Sugar Maple|
Indigenous peoples that lived in the northeastern part of North America were the first groups known to have produced maple syrup. According to aboriginal oral traditions, as well as archaeological evidence, maple tree sap was being processed into syrup long before Europeans arrived in the region.
Maple syrup is usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, before they bloom in the spring. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring.
The flow of sap is highly dependent upon weather conditions. Flow does not begin until after a time of hard freeze, followed by several sunny days with temperatures in the 40s. The peak flow occurs early in the sugaring season when it freezes at night and is bright and sunny the next day with the temperature in the 40s. The flow will stop when daytime temperatures do not go above freezing, or when night temperatures do not go below freezing. The flow usually lasts roughly three to four weeks.
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