Acer leucoderme

16 Dec

Acer leucoderme (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer leucoderme (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Dappled shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Well drained

Eventual Height: 10m

Eventual Spread: 6m

Hardiness: 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Sapindaceae

Acer leucoderme is a deciduous tree with a rounded habit, often with multiple trunks. Its dark green leaves are palmate with serrate margins and up to 5 lobes, up to 9cm long and 9cm broad. Its leaves become yellow/ orange/ red in autumn before they fall. Its pale grey bark is smooth when young, maturing to dark grey with ridges with age. Its flowers are generally unisexual, with male and female flowers appearing in separate sessile clusters. The yellow/ green flowers are borne in hanging clusters. The fruit is a double samara and up to 25mm long.

Acer leucoderme, commonly known as the Chalk Maple or Whitebark Male, is native to south east USA. In its native habitat it grows commonly as an understory tree on rocky river banks, woodlands and cliffs.

The etymological root of the binomial name Acer is derived from the classical Latin name for the Maple. Leucoderme is derived from the Greek Leuko meaning ‘white’ and derris meaning ‘ skin’.

The landscape architect may find Acer leucoderme useful as an attractive small tree which is tolerant of shady conditions and attractive autumn leaf colour. It is commonly used as part of a reclamation plant mix in the USA due to its drought tolerance.

Acer leucoderme Autumn Leaf (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Acer leucoderme Autumn Leaf (16/11/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Acer leucoderme flowers are attractive to some nectar loving insects. Its seeds are are attractive to some mammals.

Acer leucoderme prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Acer leucoderme requires little maintenance.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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