Acer ginnala (Amur Maple)
|Also known as:||Ginnala Maple|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; urban and suburban landscapes, disturbed soil, woodland edges, fencerows, open fields and savanna|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||15 to 20 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Slightly elongated, round clusters about 1½ inches long and 1 inch across appear at the tips of branches after leaves have reached maturity. The yellowish white flowers are andromonecious, meaning some are perfect with both stamens and styles while some are just staminate. Both types are about 1/8 inch across with 5 sepals and petals that remain obscurely curved in over the base of the flower. 8 stamens spread above and, when present, a single, 2-parted style is in the center with tips that curl back.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are simple, opposite, and stalked, the blade up to 4¾ inches long and 4 inches wide, though typically half as wide or less, with 3 palmate, pointed lobes, the central lobe significantly larger than the two laterals, the edges double toothed. Upper surface is dark green, smooth and glossy, the lower surface paler and smooth. Leaves turn yellow or red in fall.
Branchlets are slender, grayish brown and smooth, older branches turning grayish to brown like the trunk, the bark moderately textured by furrows and ridges. The natural form is a small multi-trunked tree with a spreading irregular crown, though landscape specimens can be trained into a single trunk with pruning.
Fruit is a pair of winged seeds (samara), 1 to 1¼ inches long that matures in September and October, though may be held on the tree into winter. The wings are nearly parallel, forming less than a 30 degree angle.
Amur maple is a small tree or large shrub imported into the US from Asia by the horticultural industry for ornamental purposes. It is grown as a hedge or small tree and is noted for its fall color. There are a number of cultivars in the trade that have been selected for form, fall leaf color and bright red samaras. Flora of China treats it as a subspecies of Tatarian Maple (Acer tataricum), of which the subspecies tataricum has also been introduced. It purportedly trains to a single trunk tree more readily and is several feet taller but does not get the striking fall colors of ginnala. It can readily be distinguished by its leaves that are essentially unlobed with just irregularly toothed edges. Both species have become invasive throughout the eastern US, displacing understory shrubs in woodlands and shading out grasses and forbs in grasslands and savannas.
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- 2 variations of Amur Maple
- buds and twig
- Amur Maple running amok
- dense thicket of Amur Maple
- Tatarian Maple leaf
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka, Chisago and Ramsey counties
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?