2015

 
 

Here is another tree that has qualified for the elite list of the Royal Horticultural Society and been awarded with an AGM, or Award of Garden Merit. It is Snakebark maple, or Acer rufinerve. This native of the mountain forests of Japan is an arching, deciduous tree with an elegant vase-shaped form. It grows to a mere 30 feet in cultivation which can be generally accommodated by most gardens. Snakebark maple has some of the most attractive foliage of any maple, which is saying quite a lot. These pretty three-lobed leaves open chartreuse in early spring, turning a handsome dark green for summer and then, most impressively, explode in rich shades of yellow, red and burgundy in autumn. This tree's poise and foliage are more than enough to recommend it, but it's other great asset is its bark, emerald green with vertical, white striations. The bark is pretty year-round but is so very eye-catching in the dull of winter. Additionally, it has small, but pretty yellow flowers in spring that lead to attractive red and brown seeds in autumn.

Snakebark maple is ideal for urban plots, specimen or courtyard. It prefers a moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil and can benefit with partial shade, especially in the warmer regions. It is well adapted to the United Kingdom. In the United States it grows best across the moderate middle regions, meaning it does not prosper in the extreme south or north. For Canada it is best suited to British Columbia. It is also a good choice for New Zealand and temperate Australia. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

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Snakebark maple

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