Maple, or by its scientific name Acer
, is an ornamental tree grown mostly for its leaves, which look prettiest in autumn. Acer, the botanic name of the maple comes Latin the word meaning "sharp", referring to the characteristic of the pointed leaves. The two types of Japanese maples that are the most attractive are Acer japonicum
and Acer palmatum
Maple trees can grow to a height of 10-40 meters (30-130 ft). There are also shrubs from the Acer family that are less than 10 meters tall. Most species of maple are deciduous, but there are a few evergreen species in southern Asia and the Mediterranean region.
In addition to their burst of colour in autumn, maples are also grown for their attractive bark. Japanese maples need protection against cold winter winds. In exposed areas, it may be necessary to wrap them if frost is forecasted.
Maple trees do flower. Their flowers are green, yellow, orange or red in color. These tiny flowers produce a striking effect when the whole tree is in flower. The fruit of the maple tree is called called samaras or "maple keys". The seeds occur in distinctive pairs each containing one seed enclosed in a "nutlet" attached to a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue. This shape allows them to spin as they fall, and the effect enable the seeds to be carried across a distance.
Maple trees also make good bonsai plants. The popular species for bonsai include Acer palmatum
, Acer buergerianum
(Trident Maple), Acer ginnala
(Amur Maple), Acer campestre
(Field Maple) and Montpellier Maple (A. monspessulanum
||Mostly deciduous trees and shrubs
Grown for the colour of their autumn leaves
||Sun or partial shade.
Fertile, well-drained soil
||Usually grown from ripe seed. Otherwise, bud in late summer, graft in winter.
|Pests and diseases
||Aphids, caterpillars, honey fungus, verticillium wilt
Maple Photo Album
by Kurt Stueber (GFDL)
Author: MPF (GFDL)
Acer circinatum, the Vine Maple
by Walter Siegmund (GFDL)
Author: MPF (GFDL)
Norway Maple (Acer plantanoides)
Author: Sten Porse (GFDL)
Author: Abrahami (cc-by-sa-2.5)
Japanese maple, also called Momiji (Acer japonicum)
Author: Peter 111 (public domain)