Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Acer Griseum

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Acer griseum Bark (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer griseum Bark (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 12m

Eventual Spread: 9m

Hardiness: 4a – 9a

Family: Sapindaceae

Acer griseum is a slow growing, small, spreading, deciduous tree. Its dark green leaves are compound with three leaflets, each up to 8cm long and 5cm broad and have blunt teeth on their margins. They are blue/ green on their undersides. Its leaves turn orange and red in autumn before they fall. Its branches. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of 70cm. Its distinctive orange/ brown bark is smooth and peeling in paper thin layers. Its yellow flowers are small, produced in corymbs. Its green fruit is a samara which is up to 4cm long.

Acer griseum (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer griseum (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer griseum, commonly known as the Paperbark Maple, is native to central China. It was introduced into the UK in 1901 by Ernest Wilson. Acer griseumis synonymous with Acer nikoense var. grideum.

The etymology of the binomial name Acer is derived from the classical Latin name for the Maple. Griseum is from the Latin meaning ‘Grey’.

The landscape architect may find  Acer griseum useful as a small with attractive peeling bark and autumn leaf color.

Ecologically, A. griseum is attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given  A. griseum their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

A. griseum prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Acer griseum Seed (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer griseum Seed (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer griseum requires little maintenance. Pruning should be carried out during the dormant months.

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