Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall foliage color is one reason we like Acer Henryi

This is a beautiful trifoliate Chinese Maple. It puts me in mind of our native Boxelder, Acer negundo. Chalky white branches define the form of the tree. Beautiful pendant racemes bear attractive flowers that produce beautifully arrayed samaras. It's a fairly fast growing maple; it can hold its own with Silver Maples and Boxelders, and it seems to recover from injury well. A specimen in China Valley grown from seed collected on the 1980 Sino-American Botanical Expedition, as a mature tree, lost nearly half of its top growth when a large Cedar fell on it. You can't detect the damage now.

We seem to have two forms: the SABE plant has golden fall foliage whereas the plant in the top picture, grown from seed collected in Shanxi in 2002 (Carole's trip) has...well look at that foliage! The red pigmentation shows itself also in new leaves and wings of the samaras. Chris Carley brought back seed from the most recent NACPEC trip and though the plants are less than two years old they seem to exhibit the attractive red pigmentation.

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