Vine Maple

I’ve been taking frequent walks in the fabulous forests they have here, and as I do I encounter more and more fun organisms that I don’t recognize. I wouldn’t be able to tell you the names of all the things I’d encounter while walking through a forest (or other habitat) in Ontario, but most of them would be familiar at least. As I wander around here, I find myself compelled to examine and identify the things I don’t recognize. Maybe this isn’t because I’m in a new place, but because I’ve been spending so much more time outside than I did in Toronto… Actually, that seems most probable.

Anyway, let me introduce you to my friend Acer circinatum or Vine Maple.

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(photo by Mike Boers)

The leaves are kind of fuzzy on one side, and the trees grow as spindly-sprawly shrub things. They’re colonizing trees; they like to get in quick after a disturbance, like Alders or paper birch. They hang out in the understory in older forests (which is where I saw this one). They’re super bendy, so sometimes the top ends up growing so that it rests on the ground – if it does, then the top may take root giving you an ARCH. They’re planted as ornamental trees outside of their native ranges (like Toronto and Ottawa – so you might be able to spy it if you’re over there).

While looking for the identity of this tree, I found this fun resource. Though the image in there of a Vine Maple leaf doesn’t look like this to me… it looks more like a classic maple leaf to me.

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