Acer platanoides

We call this tree the Norway maple because it was first introduced from Scandinavia, but it is also common throughout central Europe, including the foothills of the Alps. It gives us, each spring, something that no other timber tree can provide - a brave burst of blossom on bare leafless boughs. These flowers are bright greenish yellow in colour; they are borne in upright clusters, as the flower picture shows, and have larger petals than is usual for a maple. A female flower is illustrated on the left, with a male flower on the right-hand side.

figure 3

Norway maple flowers In April (xj). Left female Bower, (xlj Right male flower 1X1).

Flower Illustrated

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Norway maple flowers In April (xj). Left female Bower, (xlj Right male flower 1X1).

The winged seeds that follow in autumn have a rather sharper angle, between each pair, than have those of the Field maple. They sprout in the spring after they fall, following a six-month winter rest. Naturalised trees sometimes spring up on waste ground.

The winter buds of the Norway maple (Figure 7. right) are small though not minute. They are warm russet-brown in colour.

Acer Campestre Veins

Norway maple leaves have five rather shallow lobes, and each vein ends in a narrow sharp point It is helpful to memorise this leaf design, which marks out this tree from other species of Acer. In spring they are a fresh emerald green, in summer pale green, while each autumn they change to a brilliant yellow, orange or crimson.

The wood of Norway maple is hard, strong and smooth-textured. Much is harvested in Europe, where it is used for furniture, wood-turning and wood-carving. But Norway maple is not planted as a timber producer in Britain, because it does not reach the useful dimensions found in the nearly-related sycamore, which has similar uses.

It Is grown only as a very desirable ornamental tree, for its early flowers and its rich autumn leaf colour. It is particularly useful In chalklands in the southeast but grows equally well on more acid soils in the high rainfall areas of the west and throughout Scotland. Though rather large for the garden, it makes a good street or park tree that needs little pruning.

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