Acer capillipes • Striped-bark Maple aka: Red Snake-bark Maple

Acer • Maple •  カエデ • 楓 • kaede

[The text below was prepared by SJG Plant Committee for docent maple training in  fall 2013]

One grows in area M and two in area Z. The capillipes maple grows up to 45’ with a spreading crown of long, slender, and arching branches. It is a water-loving species. The leaves are conspicuously veined, and have a dominant broad triangular center lobe with a narrow, pointed tip and small, sometimes inconspicuous, shallow side lobes. The flowers are green, in drooping racemes. This maple has attractive pink samaras.


SJG • 10/4/13 – Acer capillipes • Striped-bark Maple, Area Z


SJG • 10/22/13 – Acer capillipes • Striped-bark Maple, LEAVES Area M – the youngest/smallest of the three cappilippes in our garden, where leaves are still on the eye level (other way above eye level)

Endemic to Japan, the capillipes maple is concentrated in a fairly small area of central Honshu, in the mountain areas around Tokyo, where it is quite common. It was introduced into the Arnold Arboretum in 1892 by C.S. Sargent as a many stemmed tree-like shrub. Gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1969. Capillipes is derived from the Latin capillus for thread, or hair– referring to the fine branches of the tree, and to the stalk of the samaras which are as thin as hair.

The attractive bark is green to gray with light, lengthwise stripes with regular narrow vertical lenticels. It turns gray brown with darker stripes and becomes slightly fissured as it ages. The leaves, petioles, and young shoots are pink to red to scarlet as they appear in the spring. Although the leaves become a bright green, the bright red persists on the petioles and shoots throughout the growing season. In Autumn, they turn to bright yellow, orange or red.


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