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A deciduous tree 50 to 60 ft high, young shoots glabrous, reddish at first. Leaves 3 to 5 in. long, 4 to 7 in. wide, five- or seven-lobed with a slightly heart-shaped base; the lobes ovate, terminating in a slender tail-like point where they are sharply toothed (lower down they become indistinctly toothed or quite entire); green on both surfaces and glabrous except on the veins beneath when quite young, soon reduced to a few hairs where the blade joins the stalk; stalk reddish, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long. The flowers are borne at the end of leafy shoots in May on a slender panicle up to 6 in. long, sepals yellowish, petals white, stamens eight. Fruits glabrous, 11⁄2 to 2 in. across the wings, which spread at an angle of 150°.
Native of the Sikkim Himalaya up to 10,000 ft altitude; it was found and introduced by Sir Joseph Hooker during his Himalayan journeys (1847-51), and several times since, but owing to its tenderness has never become really established. At Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, there is a specimen of 43 × 23⁄4 ft (1966), and others at Trewithen in the same county and at Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire. Although certainly on the tender side, the strain now available may be hardier than the older introductions. A bushy specimen at Westonbirt attained a height of about 30 ft and survived the hard winters of the early sixties, but was recently smashed by a falling tree. The young foliage is beautifully tinted red.
This species attains a height of 100 ft in the wild, when growing in virgin forest. Its distribution is wider than given on page 188, from western Nepal to Burma. It has a large altitudinal range and would probably be hardy if collected near its upper limit. A tree growing in a garden near Haslemere, raised from seed received from Messrs Ghose of Darjeeling in 1965, never starts into growth until the end of May but ripens its wood well and has never suffered winter damage. This is almost certainly from a cold temperate area of Sikkim. Its large leaves are deeply lobed, but Roy Lancaster notes that on mature wild trees the leaves become smaller and less deeply lobed.
† A. craibianum Delendick A. isolobum Kurz, not Massalongo – One of the most tropical maples, belonging to the same group as A. campbellii. A large tree with deeply three-lobed leaves, a native of Thailand and bordering parts of Burma.
A. flabellatum - Synonym: A. campbellii subsp. flabellatum (Rehd.) E. Murray.
A. campbellii var. yunnanense Rehd