MorphologyRead full entry
DescriptionMore info for the terms: shrub, tree, vine
Vine maple is a long-lived, shade-tolerant, deciduous shrub or small
tree which shows a high degree of variation in growth form. Stems may
be erect or vertical, leaning, arched or convex with branch tips
anchored by roots, or prostrate with the end of the stem turned upwards
. When found in the open this maple often grows as a dense shrub or
small tree with numerous erect stems. Under favorable conditions plants
in these open habitats occasionally grow up to 30 feet (9.1 m) tall with
8- to 12-inch diameter (20-30 cm) trunks [31,51,61]. Plants shaded by a
coniferous overstory, however, commonly have prostrate stems that root
where a stem touches the ground. A study conducted on the west slope of
the Cascades in central Oregon found that vine maple growing in 7- to
22-year-old clearcuts averaged 34 76-inch (195 cm) erect stems per plant
. Nearby plants growing under mature conifers were much less erect
and averaged only three stems per plant, which were only 60 percent
longer than stems of plants in clearcuts.
The bark of vine maple is thin, smooth, and bright reddish brown .
The leaves are round to cordate, palmately seven- to nine-lobed,
serrate, and 1.2 to 2.4 inches (3-6 cm) long . The fruit is a
rose-colored double samara. The 0.5- to 1-inch-long (1.2-2.5 cm) wings
are widely divergent in a nearly straight line.