Acer leucoderme Small

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Credits

Dan Crowley (2024)

Recommended citation
Crowley, D. (2024), 'Acer leucoderme' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/acer/acer-leucoderme/). Accessed 2024-06-20.

Genus

Common Names

  • Chalk Maple
  • White-bark Maple

Synonyms

  • Acer saccharum subsp. leucoderme (Small) Desmarais
  • Acer nigrum var. leucoderme (Small) Fosberg
  • Saccharodendron leucoderme (Small) Nieuwl.
  • Acer saccharum var. acuminatum (Trel.) A.E.Murray
  • Acer saccharum var. leucoderme (Small) Sudw.

Infraspecifics

Other taxa in genus

Glossary

Credits

Dan Crowley (2024)

Recommended citation
Crowley, D. (2024), 'Acer leucoderme' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/acer/acer-leucoderme/). Accessed 2024-06-20.

A deciduous shrub or tree to 15 m. Bark pale nearly white to greyish brown, fissuring with age. Branchlets glabrous, purplish dark green, turning reddish brown and eventually grey to green. Buds ovoid, acutely tipped, with five to nine pairs of imbricate scales. Leaves broadly pentagonal in outline, base cordate to truncate, three- to five-lobed, 5–8.2 cm long, lobes apically obtuse, tips usually drooping, margins entire or remotely dentate with obtuse teeth, upper surface pale green, lower surface bright yellowish green, finely soft pubescent; petiole 2.5–4 cm long, glabrous, often grooved, broadest at base; autumn colours scarlet. Inflorescence corymbose few flowered. Flowers yellow, 5-merous, pedicels long and slender, glabrous, sepals lobed, ciliate, petals absent, stamens seven or eight, inserted in the middle of the nectar disc. Samaras 1.2 to 2 cm long, wings spreading broadly. Nutlets rounded. Flowering March to April, with unfolding leaves, fruiting May to June. (Rehder 1927–1940; Sargent 1965; Elias 1980).

Distribution  United States Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia.

Habitat Moist woodlands, paticularly along streams, river banks and in ravines.

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-8

RHS Hardiness Rating H7

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

The smallest, and rarest of the maples native to the eastern United States (Elias 1980), Acer leucoderme occurs mostly as a crooked, low-branched, or multistemmed tree where it is encountered. It is little used in horticulture (particularly in Europe) as is reflected in its lack of cultivars, though a tolerance of both shade and full sun, as well as heat and drought when established, provide potential for use in urban environments (Gilman & Watson 1993; Dirr & Warren 2019). Both common and scientific names (leucoderme translates as ‘white skin’) refer to the pale, near whitish bark of the species. Its foliage is closest to that of A. floridanum, with characters distinguishing the two provided in the account of that species.

There are a number of specimens growing under this name in UK collections, with plants grown from seed introduced under EUSA 35 being one of few known wild sources. Collected on a Wakehurst-led expedition in 1998, a plant there measured 10 m in 2022 (The Tree Register 2023), though it has a somewhat scruffy form (pers. obs.). Elsewhere in Europe, a plant at Rogów, Poland was killed in the winter of 1986–87 (P. Banaszczak, pers. comm. 2023) while an individual collected as seed by Christophe Crock in Wolf Creek, Alabama in 2013 grows at Arboretum Wespelaar, Belgium, colouring well in autumn (C. Crock, pers. comm. 2024).


'Confederate Ghost'

Common Names
Variegated Chalk Maple

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7

A selection with variegated foliage (JC Raulston Arboretum 2024).