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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Acer capillipes - Snake Bark Maple

The snake bark maples are a really cool group of understory maples. Most are from Asia, but there is one from the east coast. Trees can reach 30 - 40' with a dense rounded crown. Often multi-stemmed with primary scaffold branches being upright and spreading. More branches = more cool bark. But young branches are the best. Not very common in our area. 

Leaves are deciduous, opposite, simple, 4" long, broadly ovate, with coarsely to finely 3-5 lobes, lobes serrated as well. Leaf veins deeply set and prominent on the lower surface. Petioles red. New leaves in spring are reddish as well.

Buds are stalked, slightly raised on a very short stem.

Flowers are small, yellowish green in long chains in early spring, blooming early March. This specimen does not produce fruit that I have seen.

Bark is awesome, but is best when young. Young stems are green with vertical streaks of white, as the stems age the white becomes more brown and slightly ridged, still nice.

The snake bark maples are a tough group to differentiate from one another. Its too bad we have so few! This one is distinct due to its red petioles and lacking reddish hairs on the lower leaf surface. A. davidii has leaves that are rarely strongly lobed, usually only 3 lobes if any at all. There as several A. davidii specimens around but are not close to the street to see.

Better go see this one soon, just saw the house was for sale and you never know what people will do when they move in.

Santa Cruz - Pleasure Point
3421 Yucca Dr

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