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A deciduous tree to 25 m or more in the wild. Bark grey to pale brown, smooth. Branchlets glabrous, grey to brown. Buds long ovoid, acute, with five to ten pairs of imbricate scales, dark red. Leaves chartaceous, broadly pentagonal to rectangular in outline, base truncate to subcordate, (three-) five-lobed, 8–15 × 8–15 cm, lobes narrow oblong to ovate, deeply dissected, apices acute, margins remotely toothed to lobulate apically, upper surface dark green, lower surface paler, glabrous, except along main veins; petiole 4–6 (10) cm long, reddish, faintly grooved; autumn colours yellow to brown. Inflorescence terminal, large, corymbose, glabrous, somewhat erect, few to many flowered. Flowers yellow, 5-merous, andromonoecious. Samaras 3 to 5 cm long, wings spreading at obtuse angles; nutlets ovoid. Flowering May, with the unfolding leaves, fruiting in October. Krüssmann 1984; van Gelderen et al. 1994; van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999; le Hardÿ de Beaulieu 2003)
Distribution Albania Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Greece North Macedonia Montenegro Serbia
Habitat Mixed deciduous forests and alpine habitats between 900 and 2200 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 6-7
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Acer heldreichii was introduced to Britain in 1879 and to North America in, or before, 1896 (Jacobson 1996). As stated by Bean (1988), many of the plants in cultivation (excluding subsp. trautvetteri) remain of uncertain status regarding their identity within the species. It is recorded in several collections but very few, if any, are of documented wild origins. At Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, examples are of tidy, if unspectacular form, and are host to the leaf spot fungus know as ‘sycamore tar spot’ and ‘tar spot of maples’, Rhytisma acerinum. The species readily hybridises with A. pseudoplatanus in the wild (A. × pseudoheldreichii) and van Gelderen et al. (1994) stated that many plants in cultivation may actually belong to this hybrid rather than to A. heldreichii. Though these two species are closely related, they are easily distinguishable by foliar characters, with the lobes of A. heldreichii rather narrower and more oblong in outline than those of A. pseudoplatanus. Also, the buds of A. heldreichii are brown, whereas in A. pseudoplatanus they are green.