Botany Photo of the Day
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January 18, 2017: Botany Photo of the Day is being actively worked on. Returning soon!

Acer tegmentosum

Acer tegmentosum

Alternating veins of wax and chlorophyllic bark suggest this maple is a member of the section Macrantha, or snake bark maples (a section is a grouping of closely-related species within a genus). In this instance, it is indeed a snake bark: Acer tegmentosum, the Manchurian stripebark maple or Manchu striped maple.

Douglas Justice writes in Snake Bark Maples at UBC Botanical Garden (PDF from the Davidsonia):

The most recognizable feature of the snake barks is their attractive stems. Stem striping is due to waxes that are produced and accumulate in the longitudinal fissures of the expanding bark (Oterdoom & De Jong, 1994). While the most common species exhibit strikingly striped stems, not all species do. To complicate matters, a few maples belonging to other groups have striped bark, particularly in youth; e.g., some forms of A. stachyophyllum (Section Glabra). ... On most species [of snake barks], the most obvious stripes occur on young shoots and gradually disappear as the outer bark becomes increasingly corky on older stems. ... Some stem shading is usually necessary to prolong the life of both bark stripes and the photosynthetic capacity of the stems, although this varies considerably between species and among individuals.

This particular plant is growing in moderate shade. Photographed here is the main trunk of a twenty year old tree, at approx. 2m from the ground. I chose to retain the natural angle of the trunk for this photograph, instead of adjusting the stripes to be vertical or nearly so like they would normally appear on a trunk perpendicular to the horizon.

Photography resource link: Landscape Photography Composition (part I), an article by Guy Tal for Nature Photographers Online. Know the rules, break the rules.


Great picture. You certainly have an eye for composition.
What is the hardiness ?

Acer tegmentosum - Z5 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Acer tegmentosum - Z4-7 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk

Beverly sent along a note to me mentioning that the January 2006 issue of The Garden has an article on snake bark maples. Unfortunately, it's not freely available online.

I recently acquired a small Snakebark Maple at a local plant sale and was pleased with how it grew over the past year and I loved it's fall colours. I would like to read more of the article by Douglas Justice but the link to the .pdf doesn't work. In fact the Davidsonia website seems to be down or missing.

Claire, I'll investigate. For the time being, visit here to see the PDF.

I think the problem is solved - I can access it from a number of different IP addresses and computers.

Acer tegmentosum, at least in a type familiar in western collections is admired for retaining the wax better than most (if not all) other Macrantha maples. Fairly old specimens are quite bloomy right down to the ground.

beautiful bark - this almost looks like an airy, open woven textile. Great photo, Daniel!

I grew two from seeds supplied from chiltern seeds
They are now ten years old and surviving very well against a west facing wall in the SE of England. So far they have grown the strongest of all the assorted maple seeds that I tried

do you know where i can source 2 of these for a Chicago garden? Prefer 3-4" trunk, if possible.

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