Amur maple, a small deciduous tree formerly listed as A. ginnala, is native to China and Japan. It does particularly well in colder climates, where many other trees fail.
Description of amur maple: The amur maple makes a small tree or tall shrub, growing to 25 feet high with smooth, light-gray bark on young branches. The leaves are small for a maple, only 3 inches long, toothed, and have three main lobes. They turn scarlet red in the fall. The seeds vary in color but, in the best clones, are bright red. The plant is one of the rare maples with flowers of any interest. Yellow and fragrant, they appear in spring before the leaves.
How to grow amur maple: Plant the amur maple in just about any conditions, although it prefers good, well-drained soil and full sun or, at best, partial shade. It tolerates alkaline soils particularly well. It can be trained as a small tree through pruning or allowed to grow as a tall shrub. The tree grows relatively upright when young, but it eventually takes on a round-headed appearance. NOTE: This tree is invasive in central and northern North America.
Uses for amur maple: A good tree for small lots and patio plantings, the amur maple is tolerant of city conditions and is relatively pest free. It makes an excellent screen or small specimen tree.
Amur maple related species: The tartarian maple (Acer tataricum ssp. tataricum) is similar and can be distinguished from the amur maple by its barely-lobed leaves. Some experts consider them two variants of the same species.
Amur maple related varieties: A number of varieties have been chosen for their brighter fall colors or red fruit. 'Flame' is a particularly choice selection with bright red fall leaves.
Scientific name for amur maple: Acer tataricum ssp. ginnala