Vine Maple: Coloring Our Woods
Love our local plants? You can learn more about them from Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association. She sends us frequent tidbits on our native flora. Here’s what she has to say about the vine maple whose leaves are showing off fall colors right now:
Vine maple, Acer circinatum, is not really a vine at all. When in the shady forest, the branches grow tall to reach for the light, and support themselves on the trunks of nearby trees, or if no tree trunk is available they ramble along the ground. In either case, they can resemble a vine, hence the common name. Trees growing along stream banks arch and hang over the water, providing shade and refuge for small fish. When not crowded, vine maple forms a nice, round crowned little tree, up to 35 feet tall. The lobed leaves can get up to 10” but are usually 3” or 4” wide and are circular in outline, hence the species name. Fall color can be spectacular reds and oranges on trees growing in the open and soft pale yellow in the deep shade, making this an excellent small tree for gardens.