The Pacific Coast is home to one of Canada’s largest and fastest-growing maple species. Its name, Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum Pursh) is most appropriate; its massive, five-lobed leaves can measure a full 30 cm (1 ft) across—and when these lush green specimens are joined by epiphytic moss and ferns growing on the branches, this tree’s majestic silhouette becomes irresistibly enchanting.
First Nations people have long cherished the Bigleaf Maple for its close-grained hardwood, savoury sap and sweet flowers. These tiny yellow-green blossoms appear on the tree’s twig-ends in early spring and are relished by deer and other animals. Soon after, the flowers turn to fruit—winged seeds that are known as samaras.
Canada started the Maple Leaf series of silver bullion coins in 1988. Since 2001, it also issues various proof, holographic, and colored silver Maple Leaf coins.