Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)


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Plant Description: A multi-stemmed shrub that is broadly spreading with twisted, vine-like branches that arch and droop to the ground, eventually rooting to form a thicket. In sunnier conditions it is often found as a single-stemmed small tree that can grow up to 20 ft. Its bark is smooth and green becoming reddish brown with age. In April, before the leaves appear, flowers of red and white form along the branches and are followed by reddish winged fruit, samara. The soft green foliage is typical of a maple with symmetrically lobed and toothed leaves that are a sometimes tinged with red in spring and summer. In fall leaves become golden in the shade and bright red in sunny open locations.

Maple blossoms are edible and can be used in cooking. Sap can also be used to make a sweetener or syrup. *NEVER CONSUME PLANTS WITHOUT PROPER ID*

  • Height: 6-20ft
  • Width: 20ft
  • Watering needs: regular, can tolerate dry summers once established
  • Sun needs: shade, can tolerate sun
  • Soil needs: moist, well-draining to dry, rocky; prefers rich acidic
  • Bloom Time:
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: Vine maples flourish in moist soil conditions, particularly along shaded stream edges, as an understory tree in coniferous forests, or at the woodland edge. It is a native plant and is common in forests west of the Cascade Mountains from sea level to 2500 ft.

Woodland and rain gardens benefit from this plant along with conventional and ornamental gardens. Acer circinatum is also an important species for creating wildlife habitat. It provides food, nesting sites, and cover for many birds and mammals.

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