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Moosewood Acer pensylvanicum

Previously known as:

  • Acer canadense
  • Acer tricuspifolium
Description

Snakebark maple is an understory small tree or large shrub with a rounded habit.  It prefers partial shade and well-drained moist soils.  It tolerates heavy shade very well and performs best in cooler summers so it struggles in the south. It is native to NC mountain areas.

The interesting bark on stems and young trunks have white stipped makings giving it the common name of Snakebark. The shape of the leaves are supposedly the shape of a goosefoot giving it the common name of Goosefoot Maple. The bright yellow leaves provide fall interest and the unusual bark provides winter interest.

This tree will do well as an understory tree or shrub in woodland areas.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘Erythrocladium’
    Red twig color in winter
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#small tree#shade tree#heavy shade#interesting bark#nectar plant#winter interest#fall interest#understory tree#small mammals#food source#NC native#mountains#cool weather plant#Braham Arboretum
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘Erythrocladium’
    Red twig color in winter
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#small tree#shade tree#heavy shade#interesting bark#nectar plant#winter interest#fall interest#understory tree#small mammals#food source#NC native#mountains#cool weather plant#Braham Arboretum
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    pensylvanicum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Striped Maple has limited uses. Its porous and fine-grained wood has occasionally been used by cabinet makers for inlay material. Whistles can be carved easily from branch sections. Native Americans reportedly used the wood to make arrows and the bark to make a beverage. Farmers in the American colonies and Canada reportedly fed their cattle both dried and green leaves in the winter; in the spring, when the buds had begun to swell, they turned their horses and cows into the woods to browse on the young shoots. Native Americans used the Striped Maple to treat a variety of ailments including bronchial and kidney troubles, colds, and coughs.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE. Canada to N. Central & E. U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    USA: CT , GA , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE
    Wildlife Value:
    Early spring source of nectar for bees. It is an important browse plant for many mammals.
    Play Value:
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 12 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Irregular
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1 inch long winged samaras in pendulous chains
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    1/3 inch flowers are yellow, regular, pentamerous in 6 inch long racemes, Bloom time is April- May.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Orbicular
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    5-7 inch long and wide leaves are 3 lobed at the apex and palmately veined.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Green
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Bark Description:
    Young bark as vertical white stripes which can disappear with age and turn more reddish brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The branches are reddish and the terminal buds are red and taper to a point. Older stems can have green to white striped bark.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Short-lived