This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"H. G. S." asks: " Can you tell the readers of the Monthly, where in the earth the maple tree gets the sugar from, and why this tree should be the only one to possess this power. I have often asked this question without any satisfactory response?"
[It is no wonder you get no response, for it is not likely any one can explain it, all we can say is the sugar maple is not the only tree; large numbers of trees and plants have sugar. All garden fruits have sugar, and there is nothing more wonderful in there being sugar in a maple trunk, than in a bunch of grapes. But the sugar is not drawn in from the earth. It is formed in the living structure, and by the aid of that power we call life. We can no more understand how it is done than why an animal feeding on grass makes mutton, and another feeding on the same grass makes beef. Carbonicacid is drawn into a plant's system from the atmosphere. The carbon remains in the plant's system. Sometimes this carbon is turned into sugar as in the maple, or into starch as in the potato. If anybody knows just how the plant manages to do it, and have told of the process, it has escaped our knowledge. So far we have to answer our correspondent as others have done, "we do not know." - Ed. G. M.]