Field Maple Acer campestre L.

silhouetteDescription: Small to medium sized tree with domed crown, bole sinuous and sometimes burred, branch ends droop, then turn up.

Height: 15-25 m

Diameter: 0.5-1 m

leaves & fruitLeaves: Bud red-brown with grey, pubescent tip; 3mm. Leaf unfolds pinkish (new growth in hedges in summer bright red briefly), soon bright green then dark; five-lobed, basal lobes small with two irregular teeth on basal edge, three main lobes large, either cut halfway to base and parallel inner half or, on big leaves, cut almost to base and wedge-shaped narrowing to base, each lobe with a rounded tooth at the shoulder, or sinuate margin, triangular end and finely rounded tip; to 8-12 cm, deeply cordate; sub-shiny beneath, tufted vein axils, petiole slender, green or bright pink, 5-(9) cm. Autumn colour rich gold over long period, some red and some later purple.

Shoots: dark brown above, light brown beneath, finely pubescent; second year striated and roughened, often thickly corky and winged by fifth year. Bud red-brown with grey, pubescent tip; 3 mm.

Bark: Pale brown with wide orange fissures or cracked into squares; older trees grey-brown or dark grey with fine cracks and pale ridges.

Flowers: With leaves late April to Mid-May; small, about ten, widely spaced in erect head, yellow-green, in hermaphrodite heads.

Fruit: Four in a bunch, finely pubescent or glabrous keys, wings horizontal, 5-6 cm across, bright yellow-green, stained crimson.

Habitat: Locally common on calcareous soils, mostly in hedges, trimmed or left to grow as a tree; infrequent in gardens. In Europe in broadleaved woods and on hills up to 1200m, preferring sunny sites on evenly moist deep soils, but the least particular of all maples as to temperature.

range mapRange: UK Native. Locally common in S England to N Midlands, rare in Wales and N England, not native in Scotland or Ireland. Europe to N Persia and N Africa.

A slow-growing species, little used as an ornamental, but sometimes for hedging because it can withstand browsing by animals and survives drastic pruning.

Information: Mitchell (1988), MacDonald (1984)

Source: Weasdale


Planted: European strip

Progess: Although one of these trees was ring-barked by rabbits, it has regrown from the base with a strong new shoot. All five trees are doing moderately to very well, the largest, one at the northern end of the strip and one near the middle, being about 2m high. None, however, have yet shown much of the promised autumn colour.

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