A deciduous tree to 20 m. Bark greyish-brown. Branchlets glabrous, green, turning brown only after several years. Buds ovoid, with 5 to 10 pairs of imbricate scales, brown. Leaves broadly pentagonal in outline, base cordate to rounded, (3–)5(–7) -lobed, 6–15 × 5–15 cm, lobes broadly ovate, apically acute to acuminate, margins entire, upper surface mid to dark green, lower surface pale green, densely tomentose throughout, petiole to 15 cm long, green, often grooved, broadest at base, exuding a milky sap when broken; autumn colours yellow to red. Inflorescence corymbose. Flowers, 5-merous, sepals oblong, ~3 mm long, petals obovate, 4–5 mm long, stamens 8. Samaras 3.5–4 cm long, wings spreading horizontally or nearly so. Nutlets flattened. Flowering in April (China), appearing with the leaves, fruiting in October. (Fang 1939; Xu et al. 2008).
Distribution China South eastern Xizang India Aranachul Pradesh
Habitat Forests and valleys between 1600 and 2700 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 8-9
RHS Hardiness Rating H4
Conservation status Vulnerable (VU)
Originally in cultivation from a Frank Kingdon-Ward collection made in Tibet (now Xizang Province), what was seemingly the sole tree, at Exbury Gardens, Hampshire, UK, was lost some years ago, sometime between 1980 and 2012 (K. Rushforth pers. comm. 2020). However, material has recently been re-introduced to UK cultivation, with plants present at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Westonbirt Arboretum, and, once more, at Exbury. The Westonbirt plant, grafted on to A. platanoides, has grown vigorously since its planting in 2016 and has since been successfully repropagated. Its growth appears somewhat flimsy at first and it retains its leaves until late in the year, showing little autumn colour.