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Acer tataricum

Acer tataricum subsp. tataricum - Tatarian maple


Tatarian maple, native from the Balkans via the Black Sea to the Urals, grows into a small tree. Those planted at Mustila in the 1910s at the lower edge of Pähkinärinne (Hazelnut slope) are now mature trees providing pleasure throughout the year: in spring the upright flower clusters, in summer the red samaras, in autumn beautiful yellow leaves, and in winter the dark shapely stems. The beautiful shape of the branches and the seeds, lasting on the branches long into winter, add to its appeal.

Tatarian maple, like its close relative Amur maple (A. tataricum subsp. ginnala), has long been used in Finland. The former is stronger-stemmed, with stiffer branches and leaves almost unlobed; the latter’s leaves are ‘three-fingered’. Tatarian maple is in fact more a multi-stemmed tree than a shrub, and thus needs considerable room for growth.

Acer tataricum subsp. ginnala - Amur maple


Amur maple is native to a large area in the Far East, where it grows in open forest, on moist slopes and at the edges of bogs. In Finland it is the most commonly grown shrub maple, along with its near relative the Tatarian maple (Acer tataricum subsp. tataricum). With age, it may become more tree-like in form but is usually multi-stemmed and as wide as it is high. It is more slender than the Tatarian. The dark green shiny leaves are lobed, with double-toothed edges, whereas those of the Tatarian are unlobed.


Amur maple is fast-growing but also fairly long-lived. It doesn’t flower until mature, the pale-green flowers being almost hidden by the foliage, but the seeds – winged samaras typical of the maples – redden as they ripen and decorate the shrub far into winter after turning brown. In full sun the Amur maple takes on brilliant orange-red autumn colours.


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