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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Acer platanoides 'Crimsom King' - Crimson King Norway Maple

Continuing on with the purple leaf diversion, this is another very common tree in cooler areas, even over the hill you will see large purple norway maples. 

The one on High street is not pretty, it was pruned pretty hard and could use some love. 

Norway maples are considered weeds in many areas of the county, seems to be typical of the genus, I have tons of japanese maple seedlings coming up (not that I dont like them.) The norway maples are large dense trees 40-50 feet and about as wide. Canopy is very dense allowing very little to grow under them. Seemly hundreds of cultivars with variations in rate of growth, shape and color of foliage. This and most of the other pictures are old ones of low quality from Spokane. You can see a green (its turning yellow in the fall) norway behind the purple one.

Leaves are opposite, simple, 4-7" long and wide, 5 lobes with 2 small "fangs". Not deeply lobed, rounded sinuses. Lobes are lightly toothed but the teeth are bristle tipped. New foliage is very dark purple, becoming lighter as the season progresses, and eventually turning an interesting fall color. Milky sap flows from the petiole until late fall.

Here is a picture of the species leaves, just to see the bristle tips and lobes.

Fruit is a pair of winged samaras, 2" long held at about 180 degrees. Produced in large branched clusters unlike our bigleaf maple. These are again from the species.

Flowers are produced early in the spring and are yellowish. Pretty showy as they emerge before the leaves. Whole tree takes on a lime yellowish color. Contrasts very nicely with the newly emerging purple foliage, better than the green leaves.

Misidentification: Sycamores, look at the leaf arrangement, maples are all opposite, sycamores are alternate, may resemble sugar maple (not really but students often think so) but  have not seen one here.

Santa Cruz, 917 High St.

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