Acer palmatum or Acer saccharinum? Or c) none of the above

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesmagpie, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I found this unusual seedling under my Scolopendrifolium, which did seed heavily last year (and a bit the year before). It has long, wavy, dissected leaves, which didn't start looking at all palmatum-like until the most recent leaf set. I got excited, thinking it was a seedling to watch, but when I flipped over the leaves to take photos they looked very grey. Is it possible it's a silver maple? There's a very large one in the neighborhood, but it's not a super-dissected silver maple cultivar.

    What do you think? Japanese maple or silver maple? The bark/trunk is pale green with short striated white marks. All the other details you can see in the photos.
     

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  2. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Well, I've been thinking about this one... I think it is likely palmatum. With saccharinum, there would be a barely visible fine down on the undersides of new leaves. If you see that, then the mystery is solved. Further, saccharinum there are 3 main leaf veins, with those for the basal lobes splitting from the next set after these have left the nexus at the petiole. I don't know if this is the case with every silver maple cultivar, of course. With palmatums the veins seem always to meet at the nexus, as in your photos. Also the bark you describe doesn't sound like silver maple. How old is the seedling? The second year silver maple bark would be brown.

    Whatever it is, it's a cute seedling! :)

    -E
     
  3. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, it is.

    I was waiting for someone more savvy to give a reply, and Emery did ;-)

    It's hard to be sure, but I think the same.
     
  4. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Thank you so much for responding, both of you.

    The underside of the leaves does feel soft to the touch, but I've looked very closely and cannot see down. When I run my fingers over it, the grey color becomes more green, almost as if the grey disappears with fingerprints. I can't be completely sure, but I think it's a seedling that sprouted this year. If it did sprout last year, most of the growth is from this summer-- and almost all of it since mid summer.

    Right now I'm undecided about how best to care for it-- leave it where it is, and risk rabbits or herbicide exposure through the other side of the fence, or pot it up and risk disturbing it and exposing it to our 5b winters?

    Someone told me Scolopendrifolium puts out unusual seedlings, so I was looking forward to potting up seeds and seeing what would happen. I didn't expect to find one growing like this. I hope it's a palmatum, but we'll see what it does next year.
     

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