Acer griseum

Acer griseum (340)

Common names:

  • Paper Bark Maple

Location in the Gardens:

Season of interest:

  • The tree is of interest from Spring to Autumn and even in Winter for the unusual peeling paper like bark.
  • orange/red leaves in Autumn

Description of plant:

Acer griseum is a small spreading deciduous tree the attractive bark is smooth, shiny orange-red, peeling in thin, papery layers; it may become fissured in old trees. The shoots are densely downy at first, this wearing off by the second or third year and the bark exfoliating by the third or fourth year. Leaves have 3 leaflets, downy and whitish beneath, which turn brilliant red and orange in autumn, flowers are small.

Ideal growing conditions and habitat:

It is happy to grow in the Chalky Highdown soil and can reach a height of approximately 8m. The leaves turn orange/red in Autumn making this an attractive though slow growing specimen.

Country of origin:

  • Western China

Highdown history:

It was brought to the UK in 1901 by the famous plant collector EH Wilson for the Veitch Nurseries at Coombe Wood, Croydon. It was from this nursery in 1912 that Sir Frederick Stern bought many plants for Highdown, Acer grisium being one of them.

Other interesting information:

Most of the seeds produced, from insignificant flowers, are infertile therefore making the tree difficult, though of course not impossible, to grow from seed. Despite this problem many of the Acer grisium trees grown around the world, and all of those in the USA, are bred from the original in Highdown Gardens which is unusually fertile.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

See 'A Chalk Garden' by Sir Frederick Stern.

See also:

The Paper Bark Maple:

The Paper Bark Maple - Acer griseum (photo credit Stewart Coombs) (744)

The Paper Bark Maple (to the right) in the large mixed planted border at the western end of the Lower Rose Garden:

The Paper Bark Maple in the large mixed planted border at the western end of the Lower Rose Garden (744)

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