Snake Bark Maple – Acer Varieties

Snake Bark Maple – Acer Varieties

Burnby Hall Pocklington

Acer rufinerve is the tree I have always believed to be the Snake Bark Maple shown above. It has red autumn leaves and the distinctive bark. However there are other Maples with a snake bark and they tend to cross pollinate.

Acer grosseri var. hersii

  • A popular snakebark maple for small gardens, since it grows rapidly in its early years and then settles down.
  • Can be pruned in winter to control final size.
  • An established tree is unmistakable with its upright branches with green bark striped conspicuously with white.
  • The seeds in pairs of broad wings are clustered on long strings.
  • In autumn the thick, rubbery leaves turn yellow, orange and red shades.

Acer capillipes

  • The background colours may be green, dark purplish-brown or red overlayed by a vertical lattice of fine white lines giving a snake skin effect.
  • This species, when young,  is one of the finest for bark colour.
  • After 2 years the bark becomes browner and then greenish-brown with well defined white vertical stripes.
  • The tree has bright green, three lobed leaves which turn orange and red in the autumn.
  • Hybrids with other closely related ‘snake-barks’ are common.
  • The name capillipes is a reference to the slender hair like stalks on the seeds.

Acer davidii ‘George Forrest’

  • A tree with spreading branches with a pendulous habit reaching 24-30′
  • The leaves are dark green, triangular, glossy and deeply-veined and are held on bright red stalks that catch the light.
  • A snake bark maples noted for its smooth, striped bark in shades of green, brown and silvery white.
  • The spring flowers are yellow held on pendulous stalks.
  • This maple needs a sheltered site or the foliage can get scorched.
  • Site the tree near a path so the beauty of its bark can be admired.

Acer pensylvanicum – ‘Erythrocladum’

  • Forms a rounded compact tree suitable for small gardens
  • Will not tolerate exposed or hot and sunny locations.
  • Red stems and trunk dominate the grey stripes

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