FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME
Acer ginnala Maxim.
FAMILY NAME COMMON
FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME
Synonyms: Acer tataricum L. subsp. ginnala (Maxim.) Wesm.
Acer ginnala is a small tree that grows 4.5-6 m (15-20 ft.) in height. The bark of the tree is smooth and gray. The leaves are opposite and 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 in.) long. They are 3-lobed, with the terminal lobe elongated. The margins of the leaves are doubly serrate. This plant leafs out early in the spring. The fall color of the leaves is usually red, but some are bright yellow. The yellow-white flowers appear from May-June, after the tree has leafed out, and are borne in long-peduncled panicles. These flowers, unlike those of most maples, are fragrant. The reddish fruit, which hang on the tree until late fall, have nearly parallel wings and are 2-2.5 cm (0.75-1 in.) long. Page References: Bailey 637, Fernald 986, Magee & Ahles 721, Seymour 379. See reference section below for full citations.
Acer rubrum L. (red maple). Both Acer ginnala and A. rubrum have doubly serrate leaf margins, but the terminal lobes in A. ginnala leaves tend to be more elongated. The undersurface of A. ginnala leaves is light green, while that of A. rubrum leaves tends to be a much paler light color. The flowers of A. ginnala are yellow-white and fragrant, whereas those of A. rubrum are reddish and not fragrant. The winged samaras of A. ginnala are nearly parallel and persist on the tree into late fall, while those of A. rubrum have a more open angle and do not tend to persist.
The seeds of Acer ginnala are dispersed primarily by wind with the help of winged samaras.
Acer ginnala is native to Manchuria, northern China and Japan. In the United States it is found in the midwestern, mid-Atlantic and northeastern states. It is found in all the states of New England.
HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND
Acer ginnala was introduced to North America in 1860 (Bailey 1949). Robinson did not note its presence in New England; however, Fernald (1950) reported it as being locally established from Maine to Connecticut and western New York. The degree of its naturalization, as opposed to its horticultural presence, has not been fully examined.
HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND
Early Successional Forest, Edge, Open Disturbed Area, Roadside, Yard or Garden. Acer ginnala has a wide tolerance for different soil qualities and pH values. It grows best in moist, well-drained soils. It is sporadically present in New England, mostly along edges, in disturbed habitats and within forest fragments.
Acer ginnala's small size, fragrant flowers and attractive fall foliage (particularly when grown in full sun) make it desirable as an ornamental tree. It also tolerates pruning well and has been used as a hedge tree. For these reasons, it continues to be sold and planted. As a result, it may continue to spread from cultivation into a variety of habitats. It is more shade tolerant than most maples, giving it the potential for spreading into intact forests.
Documentation required: A specific photograph or mounted snippet of the inflorescence or fruits and leaves. Best time for documentation: Summer.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System Taxonomic information
The PLANTS Database General information and a map
University of Connecticut Plant Database General information and many photographs
Virginia Tech Dendrology Brief description and images
Oregon State University Links to photographs and descriptive information
University of Delaware A photograph and basic description
Bailey, L.H. 1949. Manual of Cultivated Plants. Macmillan, New York.
Ebinger, J.E. 1996. Acer ginnala. p.25. In Randall, J.M. and J. Marinelli. [eds.]. Invasive Plants: Weeds of the Global Garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Inc., New York.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.
Magee, D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.
Robinson, B.J. 1908. Gray's Manual of Botany 7th ed. American Book Co., New York, NY.
Seymour, F.C. 1969. The Flora of New England. Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., Tokyo, Japan.
USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.