Ambrosia Maple Wood - How To Identify Ambrosia Maple

Ambrosia Maple Wood Information

Ambrosia Maple Pen Blanks

Known As: Ambrosia Maple, Wormy Maple

Scientific Name: Acer spp

Primary Location: Northern Hemisphere

Average Dried Weight: 30.2 to 38.0 lbs/ft3

Janka Hardness: 700 to 950 lbf


Ambrosia maple, also known as wormy maple is a type of grain figure commonly found in soft maple wood. The name ambrosia maple derives from ambrosia fungi, a symbiont of ambrosia beetles. When an ambrosia beetle bores a hole into the maple tree, it brings in ambrosia fungi, infecting the tree, and causing the discoloration that ambrosia maple is known for. The boring holes created by the ambrosia beetle resembles worm holes, giving ambrosia maple the nick-name wormy maple. It should be noted that ambrosia maple, or wormy maple is not a distinct species of maple, rather a fungi infection most common with soft maple trees.

You can identify ambrosia maple by looking for grey, and brown streaks throughout the maple. Near the discoloration of the wood you will often find a boring hole from the ambrosia beetle. Ambrosia maple with grey streaks is a indication of a tree that has not been infected for a long period of time before the wood was harvested. If the discoloration is a darker brown then the tree has likely been infected for a long time, or had died before harvesting. It is more common to find the ambrosia figure at the trunk of a maple tree.
It is highly recommended to kiln dry ambrosia maple. Kiln drying the maple will kill off any beetles still living in the wood, and prevent the ambrosia infestation from spreading to other wood in your possession.

Ambrosia maple is sought after for many woodworking projects. Common uses for the wood are pen blanks, bowl blanks, duck call blanks, knife handles, and more. When the maple is more wormy, woodworkers can fill the boring holes with resin, or CA glue. Since soft maple is the primary target for ambrosia beetles the wood is great for stabilizing to increase workability.