Acer (Maple)



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).

Botanical Name Acer
Features
  • Mostly deciduous trees and shrubs
  • Grown for the colour of their autumn leaves
  • Planting condition Sun or partial shade.
    Fertile, well-drained soil
    Propagation 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

    Acer palmatumAcer palmatum
    Author: Jim (cc-by-sa-2.0)

    Acer capillipes
    Acer capillipes
    by Kurt Stueber (GFDL)

    Acer cappadocicumAcer cappadocicum
    Author: MPF (GFDL)

    Acer circinatum, the Vine MapleAcer circinatum, the Vine Maple
    by Walter Siegmund (GFDL)

    Acer ginnalaAcer ginnala
    Author: MPF (GFDL)

    Norway Maple (Acer plantanoides)Norway Maple (Acer plantanoides)
    Author: Sten Porse (GFDL)

    Acer sempervirensAcer sempervirens
    Author: Abrahami (cc-by-sa-2.5)

    Japanese maple, also called Momiji (Acer japonicum)Japanese maple, also called Momiji (Acer japonicum)
    Author: Peter 111 (public domain)

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