The figure is reportedly caused by unfavorable growing conditions for the tree. The Sugar Maple attempts to start numerous new buds to get more sunlight, but with poor growing conditions the new shoots are aborted, and afterward a number of tiny knots remain. Birdseye Maple is frequently sold in veneer form, but solid lumber is available as well. Being tiny knots, the birdseye figure is most noticeable and pronounced on flatsawn pieces of lumber.
Black fibers embedded in a lighter tan or light brown colored body. Fibers are more densely packed toward the outside of the tree trunk, becoming more and more sparse toward the center of the tree. The center core of the tree is soft and contains none of the darker vascular bundles that give the wood its characteristic look and hardness. (This is nearly opposite of the typical outer sapwood/inner heartwood combination found in dicot hardwoods.)
Ebony is a dense black wood, most commonly yielded by several different species in the genus Diospyros. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. It is finely-textured and has a very smooth finish when polished, making it valuable as an ornamental wood.