Acer circinatum

Botanical Name ; Acer circinatum
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Species: A. circinatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name :Vine Maple

Habitat :Acer circinatum is native to  western N. America – British Columbia to California.It grows in forests, along banks of streams and in rich alluvial soils of bottomlands up to 1200 metres

Description:
Acer circinatum is a deciduous Tree. It is most commonly grows as a large shrub growing to around 5-8 m tall, but it will occasionally form a small to medium-sized tree, exceptionally to 18 m tall. The shoots are slender and hairless. It typically grows in the understory below much taller forest trees, but can sometimes be found in open ground, and occurs at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 m.

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The leaves are opposite, and palmately lobed with 7-11 lobes, almost circular in outline, 3-14 cm long and broad, and thinly hairy on the underside; the lobes are pointed and with coarsely toothed margins. The leaves turn bright yellow to orange-red in fall. The flowers are small, 6–9 mm diameter, with a dark red calyx and five short greenish-yellow petals; they are produced in open corymbs of 4-20 together in spring. The fruit is a two-seeded samara, each seed 8-10 mm diameter, with a spreading wing 2–4 cm long.

Vine Maple trees can bend over easily. Sometimes, this can cause the top of the tree to grow into the ground and send out a new root system, creating a natural arch.

It is occasionally cultivated outside its native range as an ornamental tree, from Juneau, Alaska   and Ottawa, Ontario  to Huntsville, Alabama, and also in northwestern Europe.

Cultivation:   
Of easy cultivation, it succeeds in most good soils, preferring a good moist well-drained soil on the acid side. Prefers a sunny position but tolerates some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. A very ornamental tree, a number of varieties are in cultivation. The branches tend to coil around other trees in much the same way as vines. (A strange report because vines do not coil but climb by means of tendrils formed in the leaf axils.) The tree sends out long slender arching branches in the wild. These form roots when they touch the ground and the plant thereby forms large impenetrable thickets often several hectares in extent. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants.

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Propagation:          
Seed is usually of good quality when produced in gardens. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 – 4 months at 1 – 8°c. It can be slow or very poor to germinate, especially if it has been dried. The seed can be harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. This tree often self-layers and can be propagated by this means. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 – 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. Cultivars of this species can be grafted onto A. palmatum, which makes a better rootstock than this species.

Edible Uses:   
Edible Parts: Sap.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.

The sap contains a certain amount of sugar and can either be used as a drink, or can be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The concentration of sugar is considerably lower than in the sugar maples (A. saccharum). The tree trunk is tapped in the early spring, the sap flowing better on warm sunny days following a frost. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent.

The wood was burnt to charcoal and mixed with water and brown sugar then used in the treatment of dysentery and polio.
Coastal Aboriginal peoples have boiled the bark of the roots to make a tea for colds

Other Uses  :
Basketry;  Fuel;  Paint;  Preservative;  Wood.

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them. The young shoots are quite pliable and are used in basket making. Straight shoots can be used to make open-work baskets. A charcoal made from the wood can be mixed with oil and used as a black paint. Wood – hard, heavy, durable, close-grained, strong according to some reports, but not strong according to others. Too small to be commercially important, the wood is used for cart shafts, tool handles, small boxes etc. One report says that the wood is quite pliable and was used for making bows, snowshoe frames etc, whilst young saplings could be used as swings for baby cradles. The wood is almost impossible to burn when green and has served as a cauldron hook over the fire.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_circinatum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acer+circinatum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://www.nsci.plu.edu/~jmain/Herbarium/images/acer_circinatum_habitat.jpg

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