Acer henryi

Today’s photograph and written entry is courtesy of Anthony (Tony) Aiello, the Gayle E. Maloney Director of Horticulture and Curator at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tony a couple times over the past decade during meetings of the North American China Plant Exploration Consortium. Much appreciated!

Tony writes:

This photo of Acer henryi (Henry maple) was taken recently at Niu Bei Liang Nature Reserve, in the Qin Ling mountains of Shaanxi Province, China. This was a remarkable location, in which we saw nine species of maple, and the identity of one of these is a mystery. The Acer henryi were growing in scattered places throughout the forest, often in clearings, and were showing early signs of this outstanding fall color. Unfortunately, we did not find any seed to collect. The other maples seen in this area were: Acer cappadocicum subsp. sinicum, Acer ceriferum, Acer davidii, Acer erianthum, Acer oliverianum, Acer pectinatum subsp. maximowiczii, Acer shenkanense (Acer tricaudatum), and the unknown species.

Acer henryi is found in botanic gardens but otherwise is not widely grown as an ornamental in North America. It is a handsome tree, with very clean summer foliage and outstanding fall color, ranging from deep purples to brilliant reds. As a result it merits more attention and would make an excellent small landscape plant.

Daniel adds: Acer henryi also has a lengthy chain of winged fruits, which provide additional interest. The species is named after Irish plantsman Augustine Henry, the first person of European descent to encounter and collect it.

Lastly, as an aside to local readers, the VanDusen Cedar Lecture Series hosts Ron Long speaking on a topic of great interest to me tonight, “The Unique Plants of Southern Oregon”.

Acer henryi

8 responses to “Acer henryi”

  1. Connie

    What a beautiful photo- I love rainy days. This would only make a good landscape plant here if it is found not to be invasive in North America. We already have Hedera helix, Acer platenoides, Lonicera japonica and Eleagnus umbellata, to name a few. They are beautiful plants but have turned out to be very destructive. Sounds like that long chain of winged samara might prove dangerous.
    Connie in Maryland

  2. Kathleen Garness

    Connie, I was thinking the same thing. Beautiful tree, but we’ve been clearing both silver maples and norway maples from our native black ash flatwoods for a few years now because the maples are outcompeting our swamp white oaks and black ash in there.
    I was talking to an editor who works with the Indiana Academy of Sciences. When I asked him about the future of our natural areas, he said “I can only guarantee we can look forward to one thing: Change. And that you probably won’t like the change.”
    We do what we can. : )

  3. swampr0se

    What a sweet maple. I think for me, however, the days of the plant explorers is over. I am content to see the photo of this maple, which lives in a protected place. I am saddened by the suggestion to bring it here.
    I spent the summer photographing native plants in Ontario. The forests near people are drowning in plants that were once brought here to delight gardeners–Norway maple, English ivy, lily of the valley, vinca, goutweed, yellow iris, honeysuckle, mulitflora rose, privet and buckthorn. As well there are the plants that have been imported with trade–dog-strangling vine and garlic mustard are ubiquitous.
    I am grateful for photography and for this site especially–that I can understand and see exotic plants in their own environment. The need to grow it in my own garden is something I have lost. I have seen that plants growing out of their own environment do nothing but proliferate–they feed no insect, no butterfly, only birds–and they override the system in place, leaving nothing but themselves.
    I prefer the plants do the migrating on their own, and that plants be appreciated, nurtured and protected in their own environment.

  4. Reading, PA

    The Morris Arboretum is a lovely place to spend a day. The grounds are spacious and beautiful to see from many different perspectives. In summer they have a small gauge train running through the plantings. The fern house is a delight. If you are traveling East, try to fit the Morris Arboretum into your schedule.

  5. mohaibo

    I see the photo was taken at Niu Bei Liang Nature Reserve, Shaanxi Province, China!! I just can’t help leaving a comment because I’m just come from the location(Shaanxi Province)!! How exciting I am when I see the two words!!
    I knew Acer henryi before I came into BPotD, this plant performed very well in our botanical garden called Nanjing Botanical Garden Memorial Sun Yat-Sen, and I found that this plant can be propagated easily by self-sowing in our garden.
    So I have to say this plant have a potential to be a invasive species. Before this plant is introduced to a new place,relevant evaluation for its invasive capacity should be carried out.

  6. CW

    In Maryland (USA) the local government plants invasive species deliberately on the sides of the roads, etc. It drives me crazy. Right now the Euonymus alata (burning bush)red leaves are beautiful, but highly invasive and seems to be everywhere.

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you daniel lovely tree the national botanic gardens in ireland
    web site has pages on ausgatine henry
    i guess most any plant could be invasive we have our share in florida
    i suppose you could call we humans an invasive species at times
    your paintings are beautiful kathlenn garness thank you
    have a lovely autum weekend

  8. Kasey

    @ swamprose:
    Having worked as advisor the the South African Working for Water Programme, attempting to manage / control invasive species; I must say you have stated the case very well for appreciating at a safe distance, without the obsessive need to obtain seed / plants & grow in the garden.
    I admire your comment for its lack of ‘want / have / gimme’ and its simple ability to enjoy in this format! It would be sad if this forum contributes to inappropriate proliferation of ‘out of context’ species.
    Daniel, perhaps as a standard, one could flag known & potential invasives for virtual & home country enjoyment only?

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