Common Name(s): Spalted maple, black line maple
Botanical Designation: Not a distinct species of maple; spalting is a fungal discoloration caused by partially decayed wood.
Distribution: Primarily temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere
Average Dried Weight: 30.2 to 44.0 lbs/ft3 (485 to 705 kg/m3) depending on species
Janka Hardness: 700 to 1,450 lbf (6,450 N) depending on species
Comments: Spalting is simply a fungal discoloration of wood, and can be found on a wide range of wood species and genera. It is found in wood that has begun initial stages of decay, and is then subsequently dried (preventing further decay). The partial decay, called spalting, can give the wood dark contrasting lines and streaks where fungus has begun to attack the wood. If the wood has been rescued from the spalting at the right time, the lumber should still be sound and usable, with little to no soft spots or rotten wood.
Maple is a common lumber seen with spalting, as the light colored sapwood provides good contrast for the spalting. Some other temperate species where spalting is commonly seen include sycamore, hackberry, beech, birch, and hickory, as well as tropical species such as tamarind and mango.
Porosity: diffuse porous
Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples
Vessels: small to medium; moderately numerous to numerous
Parenchyma: banded (marginal)
Rays: narrow to medium, normal spacing
Lookalikes/Substitutes: Red maple is more or less indistinguishable from other soft maples such as striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum), however, it can usually be separated from hard maple (A. saccharum) according to techniques in this article.