Acer pectinatum Wall.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Acer pectinatum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2019-12-15.


Common Names

  • Ex Pax


  • A. caudatum Wall., in part
  • A. pectinatum Wall., ex Nicholson, nom. illegit.

Other species in genus


A collection of preserved plant specimens; also the building in which such specimens are housed.
Narrowing gradually to a point.
With a long tail-like appendage.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
A covering of hairs or scales.
Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
Covered with coarse flour-like powder. (Cf. farinose.)
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
A much-branched inflorescence. paniculate Having the form of a panicle.
(sect.) Subdivision of a genus.
(subsp.) Taxonomic rank for a group of organisms showing the principal characters of a species but with significant definable morphological differentiation. A subspecies occurs in populations that can occupy a distinct geographical range or habitat.
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Acer pectinatum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2019-12-15.

A deciduous tree with smooth purplish or brownish to grey young shoots. Leaves three- to five-lobed, but when five-lobed the basal lobes are sometimes very small; blades 3 to 535 in. long and as much or slightly more wide, lobes triangular to ovate, acuminate to caudate, finely and sharply saw-toothed, often doubly so, the teeth furnished with bristly tips, midrib and veins on the lower surface covered at first with a mealy, rust-coloured indumentum, but later becoming more or less glabrous except in the axils of the nerves at the base. Flowers in spikes. Fruits in compact racemes 235 to 4 in. long, borne on short pedicels 16 to 25 in. long; keys widespreading (often horizontally), 45 to 1 in. long, the wings 15 to 25 in. wide.

Native of the Himalaya from Nepal eastward, and of Upper Burma (possibly also of Yunnan). It has been much confused with A. papilio (A. caudatum sensu Rehder), from which it is readily distinguished by the fine, bristle-tipped teeth of the leaf-margins, by the mealy, rust-coloured indumentum of the under-surface of the young leaves, and by the racemose inflorescence (in A. papilio the inflorescence is a narrow panicle which becomes racemose only in the fruiting state). A. pectinatum is a little known species, but of considerable interest as the only Himalayan representative of the section Macranthsa, to which the ‘snake-bark’ maples belong.


Note: Wallich originally gave the name A. pectinatum to Nepal specimens which he catalogued under No. 1226 in the East India Company’s Herbarium and also to material collected by Dr Govan at Sirmore. The last is under No. 1225 and is, in fact, A. acuminatum. When he compiled the catalogue, Wallich was of the opinion that A. pectinatum and A. caudatum were distinct species, but when he published the latter he cited A. pectinatum as a synonym and remarked that he had come to regard them as belonging both to one variable species. Nicholson, who validly published the name A. pectinatum Wall, for No. 1226 (Gard. Chron., n.s., Vol. 15, p. 365 (1881)), unfortunately transgressed the Code of Botanical Nomenclature by citing A. acuminatum as a synonym. Pax followed Nicholson in treating A. pectinatum as a distinct species (Bot. Jahrb., Vol. 7, p. 249 (1885-6) and Pflanzenreich, Aceraceae, p. 67 (1902)) and since he did not introduce any extraneous element the name can start from him.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This species is now in cultivation and seemingly hardy. It is the senior member of a group of closely related and better-known maples which have been placed under it as subspecies by Edward Murray: A. forrestii, A. laxiflorum, A. maximowiczii, A. taronense; and also the two Formosan maples A. rubescens and A. caudatifolium (kawakamii).


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