Thursday, January 6, 2011

Acer pseudoplatanus

First, let me go off track a bit before I even get to the maples. As any of my long time readers know, I'm not the most disciplined person when it comes to regular blogging. I think about blogging a lot and work on new posts in my head, but actually getting around to sitting down and writing doesn't always happen. The past week or so, sitting at the computer hasn't been the problem. I've been on it 10 or 12 hours a day doing my semi-annual update and re-do of the genealogy site for which I'm webmaster(webmistress?). If anyone is interested in the genealogy of Chester County Pennsylvania, feel free to check it out. There is more work to do, but I need to do something else for awhile. Should you want to check it out, it can be found at
Now on to the maples for today. Acer pseudoplatanus - Sycamore Maple. It is native to central Europe and southwestern Asia. The species is a tall deciduous tree, though as for most variegated things, these will probably mature at a smaller size. At any rate, they seem to be very slow growing here - and very difficult to establish. The species is noted for being tolerant of wind, city smog and salt spray, but I expect that fussy ones we grow don't tolerate as much.

This first one is Acer pseudoplatanus leopoldii. Like the species, the mature leaves are kind of thick and leathery, but unlike the species, they are nicely variegated. This one like the others is good down to zone 5. It was named for King Leopold of Belgium in the late 1800s. In the Pacific Northwest, I think they can grow these in sun, but here it needs light to medium shade.

And like most of this group, the spring color is even more distinctive than that of the mature leaves. Fall color, too, will be worth checking out.

This next one is Acer pseudoplatanus nizetii. Mostly green and cream in summer, with some speckling. The undersides of the leaves has a purple variegation.

The new leaves in the spring have a lot more colors in them, mostly shades of pink

The last, the first one we grew, is Acer pseudoplatanus 'Simon Louis Freres'. This photo shows both the mature and newly emerging leaves. Again this is good down to zone 5, but I can't find anywhere just how far south these will grow. The growing notes on all of these say they will eventually reach 50 feet or so, but I doubt that I'll live long enough to see that given that in 10 years they have gone from 2 feet tall to 5 feet tall.

These seem to be fairly readily available, at least through mail order sources. Don't know that I've ever seen one at Lowe's or Walmart. Prices seem to be about $35 in a gallon pot. Not cheap, but not nearly as pricey as many Japanese maples.
Off later this afternoon to play the organ or piano for an Epiphany service. Another of my varied careers, recently quite dormant, but revived for just today.
Next time, the Acer shirasawanum family (finally learned to spell that without looking it up!), the fullmoon maples which are one of my favorite types.

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