Monday, June 27, 2016

The "Striped Maple" - Acer pensylvanicum

The "Striped Maple" - Acer pensylvanicum, (also called Snakebark Maple, Goosefoot, Whistlewood and Moosewood) is the only Snakebark Maple that grows naturally outside of Eastern Asia. It is a small to medium deciduous tree, reaching an average of only 15-25 feet at full maturity. Mainly found growing in shrubby form in the forest understory it is usually not found in residential/commercial landscapes. It is native to moist rocky forest areas along the Appalachian Mountains, North Eastern United States and Eastern Canada.

Image Citation (Photo 1): Rob Routledge, Sault College, - 
Photo Location: Thielman Road, Goulais River, Ontario, Canada

The leaves are bright green in color during the growing season and triple lobed. In the Fall the leaves change to a pale yellow and tend to fall earlier then other decidous trees in the same area. The bark is green with white stripes when young, the green darkens to a reddish brown when mature. The small yellow-green flowers bloom in pendulous form, appearing on 6 inch long racemes, each flower within the group is usually only about 1/3 of an inch. These flowers appear in the Spring (usually May depending on the area).

Image Citation:Photos 2&3 :Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, - 
Photo Locations: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

There is a relatively low maintenance tree recommended for zones 3-7. There are no serious insect or disease problems that effect only this variety. It prefers shady areas (forest understory), can tolerate heavy shade and if planted in full sun locations may show signs of scortch on the leaves. Potential diseases include verticillium wilt, leaf spots, tar spot, canker and root rot. Potential insects include aphids, scale, borers, mites and caterpillars.

The various names given to this tree are many and each has it's own "story" behind it.

Striped or Snakebark Maple from it's unusual and appealing bark, which is greenish in color when young and marked with white striped (generally vertically). Stripes may vanish over time as the older bark turns reddish brown and the white begins to darken or fade.

Goosefoot Maple - the broad leaves that are triple lobed and often compared to a goose foot in shape.

Moosewood - Moose and white tailed deer often browse the leaves and young twigs hence the name Moosewood.

Whistlewood - Whistles can easily be carved from branch sections, hence the common name of whistlewood.

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