Vine Maple (Acer circinatum), Pacific northwest native tree

Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)



– Vegetation


– Vascular vegetation


– Seed vegetation


– Flowering vegetation


– Dicotyledons






– Maple household


L. – maple


circinatum Pursh – vine maple

NW native
Vine Maple, a small deciduous tree, has a number of the greatest fall colours
of all natives. It is a robust little man that does properly as an
understory beneath tall evergreens.

A fast grower to 10-15 ft, it has
a number of trunks and spreads to 20′ widths, very like a vine. It
likes moisture however will thrive in drought after established as lengthy
because it has a little bit shade (doesn’t get pleasure from intense warmth). Blooms with
white flowers in spring. A beautiful addition to any panorama and
supplies native wildlife with meals and nesting locations.

A sensible choice for the creative
gardener, Vine Maple might be skilled as a tree with single trunk,
it is pliable branches might be bent to shapes of bonsai, skilled alongside
a fence, solely your creativeness units a restrict on methods to make use of this
pleasant native.


Acer circinatum is crucial for native
gardens. Discovered as an understory plant to tall evergreens, from southern BC
to northern California and east to the Cascades, Vine Maple is hardy in USDA
zones 7-8.

Each bit as
ornamental as Japanese maples, these timber have an added bonus of offering
native wildlife with meals. Vine Maples like
moisture and however will tolerate summer time drought as soon as established. They are going to
not thrive in intense warmth.

Have you ever ever witnessed the
Vine Maple’s
fiery autumn show of scarlet and tangerine foliage splashing over the
deep inexperienced of a Douglas Fir forest? If in case you have, you most likely reached for
your digicam, making an attempt to seize one in all this maple’s most celebrated

Within the shade of a dense tree cover, Vine Maples develop into
sinuous our bodies of twisting branches that attain towards breaks within the overstory.

Rising till they’re too heavy to face upright any longer, the arcing
branches stroke the forest ground then once more start to boost in quest of the solar.

I recall Sunday afternoons within the autumn
when my household would drive above the Detroit space the place whole hillsides
had been lined in Vine Maple brambles re-populating clear-cuts. We at all times stored a pointy lookout for the deer that beloved to take
their afternoon naps inside the safety of the Vine Maple.

In an open setting, the creeping shrub
can also grow to be a small tree with a squat trunk that reaches as much as 25 ft
in peak though normally they cease at 10 – 15 ft.

Vine Maple bears serrated spherical
leaves which might be lobed 7 to 9 occasions and organized oppositely alongside the stem.
One other vital distinguishing characteristic of this forest denizen is borne
from its flowers. Fluttering by, propelled by the winds, are the lengthy wings
of its double samara. Discover how the wings are extensively angled creating an
alignment virtually parallel with the bottom.

This glorious decorative is
native to the Pacific northwest and is a superb alternative for landscaping or
native plant gardening. From radiant inexperienced leaves to purple and white
flowers to its scarlet samaras, the good shows of coloration delight the
senses all through its seasons.

To tell apart between Vine Maple and
its shut relative
maple (Acer glabrum) depend the lobes dividing the leaf margin, if the
quantity is between Three to five as a substitute of seven to 9 then you’ve got a Douglas Maple.
As properly, the Douglas Maple has greenish-yellow flowers and samaras that
are oriented in additional of a “V” form.

Pure Habitat and
From the canyon bottoms and talus slopes of
the japanese Cascades to the wealthy forest understory of the western
Cascades, from open alluvial terraces to clear-cuts and burn areas, Vine
Maple persists in coniferous and hardwood forests from low to center
elevations. It might be discovered as far north as southern Alaska and as far
south as northern California, and ranges from the japanese Cascades west to
the Pacific coast.

Vine Maple has many lives. In open sunshine the plant turns into a small tree
with a number of erect stems or it will probably blossom right into a wild, bushy shrub.
Nevertheless, within the shade of the forest crown the species contorts and twists
turning into a sprawling vine with a number of lengthy arching branches that patiently
seek for mild.

A magical property permits this species to root itself into
the earth the place branches unite with the forest ground. In some instances colonies
of vine maple develop into thick tangles, inflicting even the hardiest of cross
nation vacationers to curse its impediment course of branches; trappers
referred to the vine as “satan wooden.”

The bark is normally clean, however can also be
finely fissured at occasions. New development and branchlets are a tender inexperienced whereas
older development turns into reddish-brown. One other tip for identification is the
species’ twigs which characteristically finish in two buds.

Their low water necessities makes Vine Maple enticing in xeriscapes.
The plant’s USDA hardiness zone ranking
ranges from 7 to eight. Chances are you’ll plant this species within the shade, however for extra
spectacular fall colours plant in a extra open, sunny locale. That is one
plant that may face up to the extremes of full solar. Vine Maple likes moist
well-drained soil in a pH vary of 5.5-7.5, however is customized to many soil
sorts together with clay and sandy loams in addition to rocky talus soil.

At left, leaves and flowers photograph by Tony Perodeau. At proper, flower close-up
photograph from Walter Siegmund

Makes use of of Plant:
Individuals used this plant to make
bows, frames for fishing nets, snowshoes,
and cradle frames. They burned it for firewood, and carved cooking software,
bowls and platters. They taught the early settlers to boil the bark to make a tea for
colds. It is branches had been helpful for cradle swings and to make scoop nets
to take salmon. Identified by Native tribes because the “basket tree,” they
crafted stunning and long-lasting baskets with the lengthy straight stems.

Human consumption of the Vine Maple as meals supply is normally restricted
to emergency conditions. The sap of all maples is edible, though the japanese maples have a superior
taste–most of us are acquainted with maple-flavored syrup. Younger shoots could also be eaten like
asparagus both uncooked or steamed. Nevertheless, the older leaves are toxic
to individuals. The internal bark of all maples could also be eaten if one had been to want
some meals to outlive.

NOTE: Please use warning when getting ready or consuming
any components of a plant. Identification of the species and data of a
plant’s toxicity are each important earlier than utilizing any plant species
medicinally or in any other case. Please seek the advice of with a heath skilled earlier than
trying to deal with any ailment.


This good-looking species is desired for its dramatic colours and
tolerance of shade and solar. An
wonderful decorative, particularly prized for excellent fall coloration.
Attention-grabbing sufficient to make a superb specimen tree, additionally they do properly because the
understory to conifers a lot as they do in nature.

long-lived species has a average development fee, 1 to 2 ft per 12 months, and
a capability to re-sprout from its root crown when broken.
Nicely tailored to the house backyard whether or not small or giant. They are often pruned
again to maintain the scale very small (some are even used for bonsai), or allowed
to develop unfettered.

Plant Gardening/Wildlife Habitat:
This native is discovered in lots of ecotypes and
supplies a bounty of edibles for wildlife. The seeds, buds and flowers are
nutriment for tune birds, sport birds, and mammals. Deer and elk forage on
the leaves and bark; elk proceed feeding on the buds and bark within the
barren winter. The straightforward flowers present delectable nectar for bees and
butterflies. The leaves are fodder for brown tissue moth and polyphemus
moth larvae. Birds usually collect Vine Maple’s leaves and stems for
nesting supplies.

Within the wild, companion species discovered rising alongside
with Vine Maple embrace
fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii),
hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla),
Western Purple
Cedar (Thuja plicata),
Sitka Spruce
(Picea sitchensis),
Pacific Silver
Fir (Abies
Pine (Pinus ponderosa),

Sitka Alder (Alnus
viridis ssp. sinuata
Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa),
Oceanspray (Holodiscus
), Pacific Rhododendron
(Rhododendron macrophyllum)
Blue-leaved Huckleberry (Vaccinium 
Bald Hip Rose (Rosa gymnocarpa),
Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum),
Grape (Berberis
(Gautheria shalon),
Foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata),
Twinflower (Linnaea
), and
Bear Grass
(Xerophyllum tenax). Click on on the plant
names to see particulars of every plant.

and Mitigation Values

For restoration of moist drainages and steep slopes, Vine Maple is
revered for its distinctive soil binding qualities. The species is commonly
one of many early colonizers after disturbances corresponding to clear cuts or hearth
and fares properly on poor websites.

In landscapes,
little seedlings with two leaves might be discovered round extra mature timber. These can
be potted and grown up fairly simply. As with most younger vegetation, they may want
watering, however sparingly throughout their first summer time. After they’re planted out,
they may solely require water not often when they’re established.

One other
good solution to propagate this number of maple is by layering. That is performed by
burying a part of a stay department that’s nonetheless connected to the tree.

In early
spring, choose a department of the mother or father tree that reaches the bottom and has a
beneficiant foot or two to spare. Gently bend the department right into a “U” form
(it ought to crack slightly–if it doesn’t, scrape the underside aspect with a knife).

Stake down this department in order that the underside of the “U” the place the crack
or nick is and bury that half in 3-6 inches of soil. You should utilize rooting hormone
on the crack if desired. It is not normally essential. Go away this portion of the
department buried till rooted.

If began in early spring, it is best to have good
roots by late summer time. At that time, the brand new plant might be severed from the
mother or father and planted out into the panorama. Layering is straightforward to do and has an
wonderful probability of success.

Seeds are
troublesome to develop, however it’s attainable to get new vegetation on this style.
The seeds must be collected in September to October when they’re drying
out and turning brown. Sow them instantly, both the place you need the brand new
vegetation or in pots. Once more, water them sparingly for the primary summer time and
then solely as completely essential.

One other different for propagation is salvaging seedlings across the
mother or father tree, however these have to be potted directly.

Historic and Particular curiosity:

In British Columbia, there’s a Vine Maple Analysis venture which is a
group venture between Forest Renewal B.C. and the Division of Geography at Simon Fraser College.

Presently, this analysis is trying to find out what elements decide the pure distribution of vine maple inside old-growth forest stands and on the
cycle of vitamins and conifer development. Members of the venture plan to make
their findings obtainable to forest managers to help them of their jobs
of preserving northwest forest lands.

Beforehand regarded as detrimental
in that they overwhelmed conifer seedlings, this analysis is weighing
elements current in litter fall, the forest ground, mineral soil and Douglas
Fir foliage
in 27 pairs of check plots, half with Vine Maple and half with out. They
have discovered that, opposite to earlier perception, the nutrient content material beneath
the Vine Maple was significantly higher than these plots with out. In addition to
the pure good thing about including variety within the plant combine, the Vine Maple
is environment friendly in recycling vitamins which provides to the dietary standing
of all it is neighbors.

Origin of botanical identify, authentic discovery information, and many others.:
 It is
not only a tree! Vine Maple is a small city in western Oregon simply off
Freeway 26, regarded as named after a put up workplace which operated within the
Northwest for about 11 years from Could 1891 to Could 1902 and was known as Vinemaple.
This put up workplace is alleged to have drawn it is identify from our pal, the Acer
circinatum which is ample within the space. The city is positioned alongside the Nehalem River between Elsie and Jewell, it’s also the house of the Vine Maple RFD.

For a brief comparability of northwest native maples,
click on right here.

Many due to the next references for his or her invaluable data:

of the Pacific Northwest Coast
by Pojar and Mackinnon (1994)

Forests, A Nationwide Audubon Society Nature Information
by Stephen Whitney

of the Pacific Northwest
by C.L. Hitchcock & A. Cronquist,
College of Washington Press (1973)

Shrubs, & Flowers to know in British Columbia & Washington

by C.P. Lyons, Lone Pine Publishing (1995)

Processing and Germinating Seeds of Wildland Vegetation
by J.A. Younger
and C.G. Younger, Timberland Press (1986)

to know in Oregon
by Oregon State College Extension Service &
Oregon Division of Forestry, Extension Round 1450 (1995)

Reference Handbook of Woody Plant Propagation from seed to tissue tradition

by M.A. Dirr and C.W. Heuser, Jr., Varsity Press, Inc. (1987)

for Wildlife within the Pacific Northwest
by Russell Hyperlink, College of
Washington Press & Washington Division of Fish & Wildlife

A Landscaping Partnership with Nature
by Oregon Division of Fish
& Wildlife (2001)

Division of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Analysis
Station, Fireplace Sciences Laboratory (2002, February)

Rangers, Edible Sierra Nevada Vegetation Information

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