Acer dedyle Maxim.
Acer montanum W.T.Aiton
Acer parviflorum Ehrh.
Acer pumilum W.Bartram
Acer striatum Du Roi
Common Name: Mountain Maple
Shrubby form growing near Spring Lake in Berlin, New York, USA
Photograph by: Famartin
Acer spicatum is a deciduous shrub or a small tree that can grow up to 9 metres tall but is usually smaller. The short, often crooked bole can be 20cm in diameter[
]. The lower branches of the plants often self-layer, the plants then forming an impenetrable thicket[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Eastern and central N. America - Saskatchewan to Labrador, south to Wisconsin and Georgia.
Deep rich moist soils in cool habitats such as the edges of mountain streams, ravines or in woodlands[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Acer spicatum is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -35°c when dormant[
Of easy cultivation, it is often found as an undershrub in quite dense forest and so can tolerate dense shade, though it also does well in a sunny position. It prefers a good moist well-drained soil but succeeds on most soils, especially those on the acid side, and dislikes alkaline soils[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils.
The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. The sap can be harvested in late winter, the flow is best on a warm sunny day after a frost. Trees on southern slopes in sandy soils give the best yields.
Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[
A sugar is obtained from the sap. The sap can be used as a drink or boiled down to make maple syrup[
]. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods.
The native North Americans made an infusion of the pith of young twigs and used this as eye drops to soothe irritation caused by campfire smoke[
]. The pith itself was used to remove foreign matter from the eyes[
An infusion or poultice made from the outer bark has been used to treat sore eyes[
A poultice made from boiled root chips has been applied externally to wounds and abscesses[
A compound infusion of the roots and bark is used to treat internal haemorrhage[
The trees have an extensive root system that can be used to bind the soil. They are often grown on banks in order to prevent soil erosion[
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[
]. The reports do not name any specific species[
The bark contains tannins, but the report does not say in what quantity[
The sapwood is light brown tinged with red; the sapwood is lighter in colour.The wood is close-grained, soft and light, weighing 33lb per cubic foot[
]. It has no economic importance.
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[
]. 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. Plants often self-layer in the wild[
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. Strong plants are usually produced by this method.