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Useful Temperate Plants

Acer pensylvanicum

L.

Sapindaceae

+ Synonyms

Acer canadense Duhamel

Acer tricuspifolium Stokes

Common Name: Moosewood

Acer pensylvanicum
Plant growing in Michigan, United States
Photograph by: Bill Cook, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
Creative Commons License
Acer pensylvanicum Acer pensylvanicum Acer pensylvanicum Acer pensylvanicum Acer pensylvanicum Acer pensylvanicum Acer pensylvanicum

General Information

Acer pensylvanicum is a deciduous shrub or a small tree with a rounded, but uneven crown that is sometimes flat-topped; it usually grows 4 - 7.5 metres tall but can occasionally reach 12 metres. The short bole can be 20 - 25cm in diameter[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of wood. It is grown as an ornamental and street tree, valued particularly for the interesting white striping on the bark, especially of younger trees[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. A good tree for street planting[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Georgia, west to Michigan

Habitat

An understory plant in moist rich woodlands, occasionally forming a large part of the shrubby undergrowth, often by water, and attaining its best growth on shaded, cool northern slopes in deep valleys; from sea level to 1,370 metres[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
229
Title
The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.
Year
1980
ISBN
0442238622
Description
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
,
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height4.50 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Acer pensylvanicum grows best in climates with cool summers[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. It is found in areas where the mean annual precipitation is in the range 710 - 1630 mm, often with considerable winter snowfall. It has a frost0free growing season that can range from 90 - 210 days, with an average mid-winter temperature ranging from -12° to +4°c[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
]. Plants are hardy to about -25°c when they are fully dormant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Of easy cultivation, unlike many other maples this species prefers moderate shade, succeeding also in quite dense shade. The leaves can burn in full sun, especially in hot summer climates[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. It grows best in a good moist well-drained soil but succeeds on most soils, especially those on the acid side, and dislikes alkaline soils[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils.
Trees are slow-growing but long-lived[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].
The species is well adapted to survival under heavy shade. As a suppressed understory tree, its growth and development are extremely slow. Height growth over a 10-year period may be as little as 30cm, but trees that have been heavily suppressed for 35 - 40 years respond well if exposed to more open conditions and can grow fairly rapidly[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].
Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
].
Sex expression in this species is variable. It can be monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same tree, or dioecious, with some trees male and others female; the same tree may differ in expression from year to year[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

A tea made from the inner bark is used in the treatment of colds, coughs, bronchitis, kidney infections, gonorrhoea and the spitting of blood[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
]. A wash is used externally on swollen limbs and as a wash for paralysis[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
].

A tea made from the leaves and twigs is used to both allay and induce vomiting, depending on the dosage[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
].

An active antitumor substance has been isolated from the tree[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

We have two reports that the leaves of maple species, when laid in layers between crops such as apples, carrots and potatoes, have a preservative effect[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
]. The reports do not name any specific species[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Whistles can easily be carved from branch sections, hence one common name of whistlewood[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].

The heartwood is light brown; the thick layer of sapwood is lighter coloured. The wood is light, soft, close-grained and satiny, it weighs 33lb per cubic foot[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
]. It is not used commercially[
226
Title
Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada
Publication
 
Author
Lauriault. J.
Publisher
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario.
Year
1989
ISBN
0889025649
Description
Very good on identification for non-experts, the book also has a lot of information on plant uses.
]. It has sometimes been used been by cabinet makers for inlay material[
379
Title
Silvics of North America. Agricultural Handbook No. 654.
Publication
 
Author
Burns. R.M. & Honkala. B.H.
Website
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington DC.
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensice guide to about 200 species of timber trees of N. America, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Mainly temperate species, plus a number of tropical species. It is downloadable from the Internet.
].
The wood is sometimes used for fuel[
226
Title
Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada
Publication
 
Author
Lauriault. J.
Publisher
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario.
Year
1989
ISBN
0889025649
Description
Very good on identification for non-experts, the book also has a lot of information on plant uses.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8°c. It can be slow to germinate. The seed can be harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
,
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions.
Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus.
Cuttings of young shoots in early summer . The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter.
Grafting is not usually advised for this species, though any cultivars can be grafted onto rootstocks of the species.

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