November plant of the month

Well behaved and with a long season of interest, the paperbark maple makes an ideal tree for small gardens

Acer griseum bark close-upAutumn arrived early here this year. Rain, wind and warm weather conspired to remove any leaves which dared to put on a colourful show.  However, all is not lost. Once disrobed of their foliage and berries, the remaining framework and patterned bark of many deciduous trees and shrubs can be shown off to their best.

Paperbark maple, botanically known as Acer griseum, is among the best examples of stem colour here at Harlow Carr. Originating from China, this small, spreading deciduous tree has striking peeling, papery chestnut-brown bark, handsome dark green three-lobed leaves, which are downy and whitish beneath and spectacular, brilliant red and orange foliage in autumn. Primrose-yellow flowers erupt in spring.

This tree has a few distinct advantages over its other snakebark and Japanese maple relatives. It is very slow growing and will never get very large, and it also has year-round seasonal interest with attractive autumn leaf colour. Making it an ideal choice for a gardener short of space. Acer griseum can either be left unpruned, resulting in one strong trunk or pruned hard to the ground when young to encourage a more multi-stemmed habit.

This tree can found here at Harlow Carr dotted throughout the garden. Notable specimens can be are planted along the winter walk and within the woodland.

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