1247 Acer ginnalaCommon Names: Amur maple Family: Aceraceae (maple Family)
This is a bushy shrub or small tree with long, slender arching branches and twigs that are purple when young. It can get up to 20 ft (6 m) tall and spread about the same, but is usually smaller. Specimens with multiple stems are often wider than they are tall. Amur maple has deeply three lobed leaves around 1.5-3 in (4-8 cm) long and not quite as wide, with the middle lobe much longer than the side lobes. Leaf margins are doubly serrate and the leaves are borne opposite each other on the twigs. The leaves turn a rich fire engine-red in autumn. In early spring when the leaves are unfurling, Amur maple produces fragrant little yellowish flowers in small panicles. The fruits are samaras with two almost parallel wings.
‘Albovariegatum’ has leaves with white spots and splotches. ‘Durand Dwarf’ is a smaller, more spreading shrub with smaller leaves than the species. It gets just 5 ft (1.5 m) tall, and is great for hedges. ‘Bailey Compact’ is similar. ‘Ember’ and Red Wing’ are larger with fruits and autumn foliage that are reliably bright red.
Acer ginnala is native to central and northern China, Mongolia, Manchuria and Japan. It has escaped cultivation and become established in eastern and south-central Canada, and the mid-western, mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. Amur maple is listed as an invasive species in several states.
Light: Amur maple is more tolerant of shade than other maples. It does well in partial shade, but develops better fall color in full sun. Moisture: Amur maple prefers moist, well drained soils, but can tolerate some dryness. It thrives in soils with a pH of 6.1 to 7.5. Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 - 7 . Propagation: Amur maple is easy to root from softwood cuttings taken in spring. Seeds may be planted as soon as ripe. Its invasive tendencies point to the willingness with which seeds germinate.
This is a hardy shrub, very popular in Canada and the eastern US. Amur maple usually is used as a specimen or planted in small groupings. It works well in a container on the patio, and since it has invasive tendencies, this might be its best use. Some varieties are especially well suited to hedging. The showy red samaras persist well into winter and sometimes until spring. Amur maple responds well to pruning, even very hard pruning, and can be made into a rounded bush, a regular hedge, or a standard small tree. The biggest problem with Amur maple is unwanted seedlings which can spread into nearby natural habitats.
Amur maple is closely related to Tatar maple (A. tataricum) and is sometimes listed as a subspecies of it. This is one of very few maples that have fragrant flowers. The fire-red autumn foliage is truly striking.
Amur maple is an invasive weed in northeastern North America and is said to be displacing native shrubs and understory trees in open forests, and shading out native herbaceous species in prairie habitats. Amur maple is considered invasive in CT, IL, MA, MO, NY, VT, and WI, and probably should not be planted in these states.
Steve Christman 11/24/15