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ACER spicatum

Image of Acer spicatum

Jesse Saylor

Family

Aceraceae

Botanical Name

ACER spicatum

Plant Common Name

Mountain Maple

General Description

Common in the understory of the forests of eastern North America, mountain maple is also an attractive subject for lightly shaded gardens. Typically forming a large multi-trunked shrub, it bears dark green leaves with toothed margins and three pointed lobes. The leaves turn bright orange, red, or yellow in fall. Unique, upright, conical clusters of small yellow flowers appear at the branch tips in late spring, later than those of most other maples. Drooping two-winged fruits follow the flowers, maturing from green to showy rose-pink. The bark is dark pewter-gray.

This lovely but short-lived maple likes moist, well-drained, humus-rich, acidic soil and partial shade. It fares poorly in areas with hot summers. Plant it in a woodland edge or as an understory tree, preferably where its colorful fall leaves and fruits will receive the attention they deserve.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    5 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 5

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Pink, Rose, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Red, Orange

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No