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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Acer buergerianum - Trident Maple

The trident maple is a great little tree and a welcome addition to our evergreen dominated urban forest. It is a small deciduous tree, 10-25' tall, generally rounded outline, often low split trunk forming a multi-stemmed tree. Foliage is dense. Foliage is green during summer and can turn beautiful red in fall, depending on location.

Leaves are opposite, simple, 3-lobed near the apex, rounded base, 2-3" long and wide. Very distinct but can resemble some of the red maples. Lobes are acute pointing forward, entire on the lower half of the leaf, lightly serrated towards the tips. Dark green above, lighter green below with a waxy layer (glaucescent bloom). Petioles are 1.5-2" long.

Variable leaf shape.

Flowers in an erect panicle, light yellow, early spring.

Fruit are paired samaras, typical of the maples. Samaras about 1.5-2" long with more or less parallel wings. Reddish in summer.


There are several very interesting cultivars but usually not very widely planted except by collectors. They may have smaller foliage, twisted foliage or even variegated. Several are in Santa Cruz. Makes a great Bonsai.

Misidentification: maybe a young red maple but they would be much larger trees.

228 North Ave (Seacliff) nice specimen.

4675 Capitola Rd. Capitola
Center St and Sunset in Capitola
720 Sunset Capitola, funny how they show up in the same neighborhood.

Santa Cruz:
Nice grove in Harvey West Park

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