Common Name: paperbark maple
Botanical Name: Acer griseum
Form: oval to round canopy, twiggy with shaggy, upright Family: Sapindaceae
Species: griseum = grey (leaf undersides)
Plant Type: deciduous tree
Mature Size: 20-30ft (6-9 m), x 15 to 20ft (4.5 - 6m)
Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
Foliage: opposite, trifoliate 3"-5" long, soft, blue-green color, white underneath, 3 leaflet leaf (trifoliate), excellent fall colour
Stems: cinnamon coloured peeling, shaggy bark
Flowers: inconspicuous green & yellow clusters, Mar- Apr
Fruit: 1.5" to 2" long, chartreuse samaras, Jun- Jul
Exposure: sun to part shade
Soil: prefers moist, well-drained, but also soil tolerant
Uses: specimen, accent, bonsai, shade tree, winter interest, small gardens
This reliable and decorative tree’s claim to fame is its highly ornamental cinnamon coloured peeling bark. It peels off in large curls giving the tree a shaggy appearance.
The paperbark maple has great fall leaves in brilliant oranges, yellows and reds. Although this tree is a maple, its leaves don’t resemble a typical maple leaf as they are composed of 3 leaflets instead of one single leaf. Its seeds however, are typical of the maple species as they are winged. Technically they are termed samaras, however, they are often referred to as ‘helicopters’ or 'keys'.
This hardy, tough and well-behaved tree looks good all year long, no matter what the season. Its because of its beautiful bark, nicely shaped canopy and vivid fall colours. This popular tree is often used in city boulevards as it’s tolerant to pollution, is soil tolerant and generally has no issues with insects or diseases.