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The Enchanting Vine Maple: A Graceful Native with Vibrant Fall Foliage

Vine Maple, Acer circinatum

🌳 Tree Details:
Acer circinatum, commonly known as the Vine Maple, is a deciduous tree or large shrub native to the Pacific Northwest. It typically grows 15 to 20 feet tall, with a similar spread, and is known for its multi-stemmed, sprawling growth habit. The Vine Maple is celebrated for its graceful form, which can be either upright or sprawling, depending on the amount of light it receives.

🔬 Scientific Name:
Acer circinatum

📏 Mature Spread:
The mature spread of the Vine Maple is usually around 15 to 20 feet, mirroring its height.

🌲 Where to plant this tree:
In Victoria, B.C., the Vine Maple is an excellent choice for understory planting in wooded areas or as a feature in residential gardens. It can be planted as a standalone specimen or in groups to create a naturalized look. This tree is ideal for adding structure and autumn color to shaded areas. When planting, ensure there is enough space for the tree to spread and consider its preference for shelter from harsh winds.

✨ Highlights:
The Vine Maple is admired for its beautiful palmate leaves, which are typically 7-lobed and turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow in the fall. In the spring, it produces small purple and white flowers, followed by winged samaras in late summer. The tree’s twisting branches and lush foliage make it a stunning addition to any landscape, particularly in the fall.

🌞 Sun Preference:
This maple prefers partial shade to full sun, thriving in dappled sunlight. It is often found in the understory of forests, where it receives filtered light.

🌱 Soil Preference:
Vine Maple is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions but grows best in moist, well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. It prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH.

🐾 Wildlife Value:
The flowers of the Vine Maple provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects, while the seeds are a food source for small mammals and birds. The dense growth habit of the tree offers excellent cover and nesting opportunities for wildlife.

📖 History/Lore:
The Vine Maple has been an important plant for indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, who used its flexible wood for making tools and furniture. The tree’s name “circinatum” refers to the rounded, circular nature of its leaf shape. It is a key species in its native habitat, contributing to the forest’s understory diversity and beauty.

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