Home garden design > Planting Trees and Shrubs > The Best Garden Trees and Garden Shrubs > Acer

Acer


This genus of Sapindaceae is composed principally of trees which are widely distributed through the temperate regions of the world. Many are very ornamental, and the majority grow quickly. Within the past few years several new species have been introduced from China. The majority of the Acers thrive on chalk.

Acer campestre, the common Maple of Europe and West Asia, is found wild as a small tree or large bush in England. The leaves are small and five lobed. The varieties pulverulentum and variegatum have variegated leaves.

Acer circinatum, the vine Maple of California was introduced in 1863. It makes a small tree 20 to 40 feet high with seven or nine lobed leaves, which colour brilliantly in autumn.

Acer dasycarpum, the Silver Maple, came from eastern North America in 1725. It forms a medium sized tree of semi­pendulous habit. The leaves are five lobed, glaucous beneath, and colour well before falling. There are many varieties, of which laciniatum, pendulum, and pyramidalis are the most distinct.

Acer GinnalAcer, an elegant habited small tree from Amurland. The leaves, which before falling take on a scarlet hue, are small and prettily cut.

Acer insiqne., this is a moderate sized tree from northern Persia, with large, palmately lobed leaves.

Acer Japonicum is one of the Japanese Maples, introduced in 1863. It makes a large bush from 10 to 20 feet high, but is more often met with as a small plant. The leaves are small and dainty, colouring well in autumn. There are many varieties with deeply cut and highly coloured leaves.

Acer macrophyllum, the large-leaved California Maple. It is a large tree 50 to 90 feet high, with ornamental leaves often 6 to 8 inches across. The flowers are yellow and borne in erect racernes.

Acer Monspessulanum, the Montpelier Maple from the Mediterranean region, was introduced in 1739. It makes a compact, round headed tree with small, cordate, three lobed leaves, and yellow flowers in erect corymbs.

Acer Negundo, the Box Elder, came from the United States in 1688. The tree grows 30 to 40 feet high, with pinnate, Ashlike leaves. The varieties with golden and silver variegated leaves are more largely grown than the type. A. N. Californicum aureum has golden leaves, A. N. foliis marginatis aureis yellow variegated, and A. N. variegatum silver variegated leaves.

Acer Nikoense is an interesting Japanese species with pinnate leaves ; introduced about 1893.

Acer opulifolium, the Italian Maple, was introduced in 1812, It grows 20 feet or more high, and bears large, handsome leaves and yellow flowers. Neapolitanum and obtusatum are varieties.

Acer Pennsylvanicum, the Moose Wood of the eastern United States, was introduced in 1755. It is an exceedingly interesting tree on account of its bark being effectively marked with white. The leaves are three lobed and finely serrated. The height of the tree is about 20 feet.

Acer platanoides is the Norway Maple, and came to us in 1683, It is a popular species with planters, makes a large, handsome tree 60 feet high, recognised by means of its smooth five lobed leaves, 6 to 8 inches across, and its rich yellow flowers, which appear in corymbs in April. There are many varieties, of which some of the best are palmatum, purpureum, Reitenbachii (this turns to a fine red in autumn), rubrum, and Schwedleri ; the young leaves of the latter are reddish brown and very handsome.

Acer Pseudo-platanus, the Sycamore, is indigenous to Central Europe and Western Asia, and was introduced in 1812. The Sycamore, Mock Plane, or Great Maple, as this tree is variously called, is common in gardens, and a favourite with planters.

For decorative purposes some of its many varieties are more useful than the type. The best are Acer P, atropurpureum, introduced about 1828,, purple, particularly on the under surface, changes to reddish purple in autumn; Acer P. flavo-marginatum, yellow and green variegated, known as the Corstorphine Plane through being first noticed in the parish of Corstorphine, near Edinburgh ; A. P. Nizeti and atropurpureum, with golden variegation; A. P. Prinz Handjery, golden leaved ; A. P. Simon Louis Freres, green and yellow variegated, the variegation being very pretty.

Acer rubrum, the Red Maple of the United States, was introduced in 1656, and forms a large tree 40 to 80 feet high, with silvery bark. The leaves are palmate and five lobed. Some forms colour finely in autumn, the trees being masses of scarlet. The very small flowers are borne before the leaves in March and April. Though small, they are very conspicuous by reason of their numbers ; the colour is bright, red. A. r. sanguineum colours exceptionally well in autumn.

Acer Tataricum, the Tatarian Maple, introduced in 1759, might readily be called the Thorn-leaved Maple, for the leaves could easily be mistaken for those of a cordate leaved Crataegus. It forms a low, round headed tree from 12 to 20 feet high.

Acer Van Volxemi, which came from the Caucasus in 1877, is a large leaved Maple resembling the Sycamore, but of bolder outline.