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Acer griseum - Paperbark Maple

Acer griseum (paperbark maple) is a small, slow growing, deciduous tree, which is native to central China. It will grow best in a sheltered location, ideally in a moist but well drained soil, and makes a perfect specimen in a small garden.

In late spring, the paperbark maple awakens from its winter slumber. The young copper foliage begins to unfurl with the clusters of tiny yellow green flowers. The foliage will turn to a mid-green and is trifoliate with each leaflet deeply toothed.

In the autumn, the leaves will turn spectacular shades of orange and red. For the best colour, it needs to be grown in full sun. The flowers will also have developed into clusters of paired samara, typical of many Acer species.

There are few trees which can rival its outstanding smooth cinnamon coloured bark which peels gently in thin papery layers adding winter interest to this plants list of attributes.

The features of Acer griseum make it an astonishing plant and a firm favourite at Deepdale. If only it would grow a bit faster!

FACT: Ernest Wilson introduced Acer griseum to Europe from China in 1901. It has since earned the RHD Award of Garden Merit.

Plant Profile

Name: Acer griseum

Common Name: Paperbark Maple

Family: Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)

Height: Can grow up to 10m

Demands: Requires a moist but well drained soil. Grow in full sun for the best autumn colour but is also fine in dappled shade

Foliage: Trifoliate - three leaflets - each leaflet is deeply toothed

Flower: Clusters of tiny yellow flowers in spring

Fruit: Winged samara, typical to Acers

Bark: Stunning orange-red bark peels in thin papery layers providing year round interest.

Acer griseum info sheet

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