Acer × conspicuum van Gelderen & Oterdoom

(Sect. Macrantha)

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New Trees

This taxon is the result of a cross between A. davidii and A. pensylvanicum, although the name seems to be being applied somewhat casually to other crosses as well. Shrub or tree to 10 m, sparsely branched. Bark blue-green or reddish with conspicuous white stripes. Leaves deciduous, 5–20 × 5–15 cm, palmately three-or five-lobed, the lobes long-acuminate, glabrous or sparsely pubescent below, margins serrate; petiole 2–10 cm long, reddish; autumn colour golden- or orange-yellow. Inflorescence terminal, pendulous racemes, 4–15 cm long. Flowers small. Samaras similar to those of A. davidii, usually short. Van Gelderen et al. 1994, van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999. Distribution In cultivation only. USDA Hardiness Zone 5–7 (dependent on cultivar). Illustration NT82.

This artificial hybrid is of such importance to horticulture that it is included here for completeness, together with a number of other important snakebark maple selections that have come to recent prominence. These are extremely popular garden trees, although it should be noted that many can reach at least 10 m in height, with a rounded crown. A. ×conspicuum has occurred on several occasions where the parents grow together, and can be expected to reappear in seedlings of cultivated origin. The first was ‘Silver Vein’, the result of a deliberate cross made in 1961 by Peter Douwsma in 1961 and introduced by Hillier Nurseries in 1975 (Hillier & Coombes 2002). This is now acclaimed as one of the best snakebark maples, retaining the excellent bark coloration for many years (van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999). It is the parent of ‘Phoenix’, with striking coral-pink winter stems that are highly effective in the winter landscape. Other cultivars include ‘Candy Stripe’ (which may be A. capillipes A. pensylvanicum) with very strongly striated bark, and ‘Elephant’s Ear’ with big leaves and purplish bark. Brightly variegated leaves on red stems are borne by ‘Silver Cardinal’, attributed to this hybrid but possibly involving A. rubescens (Hillier & Coombes 2002); it is not hardy at Rogów Arboretum (P. Banaszczak, pers. comm. 2007). A similar, but even brighter selection, ‘Red Flamingo’, is almost certainly a derivative of A. rubescens (P. Gregory, pers. comm. 2007).

Genus

Acer

Other species in the genus