|MOUNTAIN MAPLE, SPRING FLOWERS...|
|...AUTUMN LEAF COLOR...|
|.,SPIKE OF TINY YELLOW FLOWERS...|
One of my favorite, and underused, native shrubs is mountain maple, Acer spicatum, in the Maple Family. It is blossoming right on time.
It is a tree of northeastern North America, from far northern Canada to the Lake States and New England, and south at elevation in the Appalachian Mountains. It is an understory shrub or small tree to twenty feet or so, growing in the rich soils of moist woods along stream beds and rocky outcroppings.
It has the opposite leaves and branches typical of maples, and a three-lobed, toothed leaf. It bears interesting yellow flower spikes in spring, followed by colorful, red-winged seeds. The fall leaf color is a brilliant red to orange, which lights up the fall woods like a jack-o-lantern.
It is little used in landscaping and is not often available from nurseries, which is truly a shame, as it is a very interesting and attractive plant to use in the the native or naturalized landscape.