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A small deciduous tree with glabrous young shoots. Leaves five; six; or seven-lobed, truncate or slightly heart-shaped at the base; 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, about as much wide; lobes ovate, sharply and unevenly toothed, each one tapering to a slender point; dark green and glabrous above, paler, net-veined and glabrous beneath except for conspicuous tufts of white down in the vein-axils; stalk slender, 1 to 4 in. long. Panicles terminal, slender, 3 to 4 in. long, 5⁄8 in. wide, the flowers crowded on the upper two-thirds. Flowers about 1⁄4 in. wide, yellowish; calyx downy on the inside; petals glabrous, rather shorter than the sepals; stamens longer than either; ovary felted with yellowish wool. Fruits crowded in panicles 2 to 4 in. long, and 21⁄2 to 3 in. wide; nutlets downy when young, finally almost glabrous, the wings spreading horizontally, each 1 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide.
Native of Szechwan and Hupeh; introduced by Wilson in 1907. This handsome maple is distinct in its slender flower-panicles, woolly ovary, and especially in the conspicuous white tufts of down sprinkled over the under-surface of the leaves. There is an example 28 ft high at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, but it has remained uncommon in gardens and grows slowly. A specimen in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, raised from W. 4428 and planted in 1911, measures 12 × 1 ft (1968).
For a note on this species by Brian Mulligan, see Int. Dendr. Soc. Year Book 1976, pp. 56-7.