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Acer circinatum facts for kids

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Vine maple
Vine Maple leaves and flowers.jpg
Vine maple leaves and flowers
Conservation status
Scientific classification
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Species:
A. circinatum
Binomial name
Acer circinatum
Pursh 1813
Acer circinatum range map.png
Natural range
Synonyms
  • Acer macounii Greene
  • Acer modocense Greene
  • Acer virgatum Raf.

Acer circinatum, the vine maple, is a species of maple native to western North America, from southwest British Columbia to northern California, usually within 300 kilometres (190 mi) of the Pacific Ocean coast, found along the Columbia Gorge and Coastal Forest. It belongs to the Palmatum group of maple trees native to East Asia with its closest relatives being the Acer japonicum (Fullmoon Maple) and Acer pseudosieboldianum (Korean Maple). It can be difficult to distinguish from these species in cultivation. It is the only member of the Palmatum group that resides outside of Asia.

It most commonly grows as a large shrub growing to around 5 to 8 metres (16 to 26 ft) tall, but it will occasionally form a small to medium-sized tree, exceptionally to 18 metres (59 ft) tall. The shoots are slender and hairless. It typically grows in the under story below much taller forest trees, but can sometimes be found in open ground, and occurs at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).

The leaves are opposite, and palmately lobed with 7 to 11 lobes, almost circular in outline, 3 to 14 centimetres (1.2 to 5.5 in) long and broad, and thinly hairy on the underside; the lobes are pointed and with coarsely toothed margins. The leaves turn bright yellow to orange-red in fall. The flowers are small, 6 to 9 millimetres (0.24 to 0.35 in) in diameter, with a dark red calyx and five short greenish-yellow petals; they are produced in open corymbs of 4 to 20 together in spring. The fruit is a two-seeded samara, each seed 8 to 10 millimetres (0.31 to 0.39 in) in diameter, with a lateral wing 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.57 in) long.

Vine maple trees can bend over easily. Sometimes, this can cause the top of the tree to grow into the ground and send out a new root system, creating a natural arch. This characteristic makes it the only maple capable of layering.

It is occasionally cultivated outside its native range as an ornamental tree, from Juneau, Alaska and Ottawa, Ontario to Huntsville, Alabama, and also in northwestern Europe.

Uses

Various birds and mammals eat the seeds of this species.

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