The deeply lobed leaves are silvery on their under surfaces, a feature often noticeable when leaves are blown by wind. The bark of older trees typically separates into long, narrow scales, giving the trunks a "shaggy" appearance. The tree commonly grows in moist and fertile habitats, in swamps, stream banks, and bottomlands where flooding occurs. As with the Red Maple, Silver Maple wood is soft and neither strong nor durable. Its uses generally are limited to cheap furniture, pulpwood, containers, and as a fuel. Although relatively short-lived, this fast-growing tree commonly is planted along community streets and as a shade tree. An early writer claimed that "more tasty" sugar could be gotten from this tree and the Red Maple than from the Sugar Maple, but in much lower quantity.