Acer davidii, snakebark maple, davids maple

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Acer davidii Samen

Acer davidii, also called Davids Maple, is a species of the snakebark maple group of the family of Sapindaceae. It is native to the Middle and South of China and also Myanmar and discovered by a Basque priest whose name was Armand David. He was a missionary in Central China.

This small deciduous tree can grow up to a height of ten to rarely fifteen meters with a wide spreading crown with long branches. The bark appears smooth and olive-green and is signed with regular white or pale vertical stripes, even on young trees, which looks like snakeskin. Young fresh sprouts are dark red but get some kind of mixture of grey and green with typical white stripes. The leaves are arranged oppositely and formed oval to weakly three-lobed. In autumn they can get a color from deep red to a shiny orange and bright yellow. They are six to eighteen centimeters long with a dark green side above and paler below. Florescence lasts from March to April with little yellow flowers arching to pendulous racemes with a length of seven to twelve centimeters. Male and female flowers can be found on different racemes. The fruits called Samara nutlets have little wings and can be sized up to ten millimeters. They grow in September.

The Davids Maple should grow on a sunny to half-shaded site. It can grow as a solitary tree or can be planted beside other trees. It is winter hardy with a temperature tolerance down to -23°C. The soil should be sandy or loamy with some pebble stones and a steady humidity without dammed-up water. This tree is very accommodative to its environment.

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