Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Acer platanoides

Acer platanoides, Norway Maple, is native to eastern and central Europe, southwest Asia, and southern Scandanavia. The species can get to 60 to 100 feet tall, but the variegated version we grow will never get that large. Fall color is yellow. It can produce a large number of viable seeds. It's funny, when I was looking for a little background information on the tree, that they said it wasn't an especially long lived tree, ONLY about 250 years. I don't know about you, but that seems like a pretty long time to me. People sometimes confuse it with the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). The easiest way to tell them apart is that the sap in the petioles is white in the Norway Maple and clear in the Sugar Maple.
A cultivar that is very common but that I don't have pictures is 'Crimson King', a red leafed one. There is also a 'dissectum' with feathery leaves.
This first picture is Acer platanoides 'Curly Lamppost'. It grow to zone 5 (some say zone 4) and is easy to recognize by its tight, congested, puckered green leaves and very narrow growth habit. It is very slow growing and remains a dwarf. Ours is over 10 years old and isn't more than 3 feet tall. There's no mistaking this one for anything else. Quite cute, though a bit hard to find sometimes.
This second picture for today is Acer platanoides Drummondii. Where Curly Lamppost can take sun, Drummondii is better in light shade. It is good down to zone 4 and will eventually reach 35 feet. The leaves have a crisp, well-defined white margin. It is native to eastern and central Europe, southwest Asia, southern Scandanavia and northern Iran. It is sometimes called Harlequin Maple, which I think is incorrect, since the next one is really the Harlequin Maple. Without looking too hard, you can see the difference in the leaves. The bottom photo has much wider leaf margins and the central green splotch is my more irregular.
So, Acer platanoides 'Harlequin' is below. I've not been able to find much about it, other than it is a small to medium sized tree. It grows here in light shade. Like all of the Norway Maples, it seems to hold its leaves quite long in the fall. If frost is late, it will get a chance to show off its fall colors. All of these are pretty pest free, though the leaves may be nibbled by some caterpillars, but nothing that will kill or really even terribly disfigure the tree, even temporarily. The recently arrived in this country, Asian Longhorn Beetle can tunnel through the bark and can cause significant damage, but luckily this isn't a problem in most places. We have found all of these to be easy to grow and quite showy and good companions in the garden.

More maples again tomorrow. Hope you're all surviving the snow. We only got an inch or so more, but none of the earlier snow had melted, so we still have quite a bit down here in the hollow.

No comments: