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Deciduous trees to 15 m. Bark greyish-brown. Branchlets glabrous, purplish-red or greenish, turning darker. Buds ovoid. Leaves pentagonal in outline, base truncate to rounded, 3- to 5-lobed, 6–9 × 2–13 cm, lobes triangular ovate, apically acute or acuminate, occasionally caudate, margins serrulate with appressed teeth, upper surface mid-green, lower surface paler, glabrous; petiole 2–3 cm long, green, glabrous. Inflorescence shortly paniculate. Flowers 4-merous, usually dioecious, pedicels 0.5–0.8 cm long, sepals ovate to oblong, petals obovate, stamens 8, inserted inside the villous nectar disc, ovary densely pilose. Samaras 1.5–2.5 cm long, wings spreading variously. Nutlets ovoid. Flowering in April, fruiting in September (China). (Xu et al. 2008).
Distribution China Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, southern Hunan, southern Jiangxi, southern Zhejiang Taiwan (China)
Habitat Forests between 300 and 1000 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 7-8
RHS Hardiness Rating H4
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Taxonomic note Two varieties are treated by Xu et al. (2008): the nominate variety, var. tutcheri, with samaras 1.5–2.5 cm long and spreading variously, and var. shimadae, which has smaller samaras (~1.5 cm), which spread at an acute angle.
Acer tutcheri is perhaps the rarest of section Palmata in cultivation, it yet to become established even though it has proved to be ‘hardier than expected’ (van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999). It was previously offered by Plantentuin Esveld, though currently appears unavailable commercially. Keith Rushforth currently grows two young, grafted plants of his collections under numbers KR 10255 and 10256. These were collected on Bijia Shan, Jiangxi at 1323 m asl, with the parent plants described as having ‘leaves three lobed, similar in appearance to Acer wardii’ (K. Rushforth, pers. comm. 2020). DJHG 11134, collected by Dan Hinkley on Leigongshan, Guizhou in 2011, has been circulated as A. tutcheri, but is in fact A. wilsonii.