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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

Norway maple (Acer platanoides)

Description

A. plantanoides is a large tree, 25-30 m tall, with a dbh at maturity of 60-80 cm, exceptionally to 150 cm. It has a straight cylindrical stem and erect, glabrous, green to brown branches. The crown is tall-domed, sometimes very broad on a short stem; open in winter with rather short perpendicular shoots and often thin bunches of persistent fruits, and with very dense foliage in summer. Bark is pale grey, smooth, finely folded, or shallowly ridged in a network. Shoots pinkish-brown or olive-brown, buds ovoid; terminals dark red or red-brown, laterals green appressed. Leaves simple, opposite, deciduous, generally five-lobed, 12 x 15 cm, with shallow, open indentations between short acuminate lobes, green on both sides and borne on reddish stalk that emits a milky liquid when broken. The leaves vary greatly in size with tree age and vigour of the shoot. Petiole 15 cm (8-10 cm on old trees, to 20 cm on young trees). Autumn colour generally butter-yellow towards the end of October, but occasional trees may be scarlet in early October, and in some years most turn from yellow to orange. Flowers in erect pubescent panicles of about 30-40 flowers. Each flower monoecious, 6-8 mm, bright acid-yellow-green with five oval petals and a big, green disc. Flowers open before leaves in late March, and last well into April until leaves are newly expanded. Fruits are di-samaras, 6-10 cm across the pair, greenish yellow when ripe; with flattened carpels and broad flattened wings set at a wide angle and not narrowing toward the base (e.g. Mitchell, 1974).

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