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Publication #ENH1229

Faber’s Maple: Acer fabri1

Gary W. Knox2

Figure 1. 

Acer fabri, Faber’s maple.


Credit:

Gary Knox


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Acer fabri (Faber’s Maple) is unlike the maples familiar to most people, as it does not have the typical three- or five-lobed leaves. Instead, the leaves of Faber’s maple are unlobed, slender, and very glossy. Additionally, most people know the maple as a deciduous tree, dropping its leaves in fall, whereas Faber's maple is evergreen.

Faber’s maple grows as a small, broad tree up to a height of about 30 feet. Leaves on new growth are tinted red, and the familiar samaras (“helicopter” fruits), appearing in September, are also red. New growth on some trees has more red coloration than on others, suggesting the possibility of selecting forms with more red coloration. Hardiness is not confirmed but it is believed to be adapted to USDA Cold Hardiness Zones 7b-9. Leaves reportedly senesce and fall when winter temperatures drop to the low 20s or high teens (°F). Accordingly, Faber's maple is likely to be evergreen in most of Florida and semi-evergreen after cold winters or in the cooler areas of its hardiness range.

Faber’s maple is native to the mixed forests of Vietnam and central and southern China, where it is known as luo fu feng. This slow growing tree fares best in partial sun and well-drained soil. No serious pests are known at this time.

Figure 2. 

Closeup of the red tinted leaves and fruits of Faber’s maple.


Credit:

Gary Knox


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

The reddish new growth, glossy green leaves, red fruits and growth as a small evergreen tree collectively make this a very ornamental tree. Rarely cultivated, Faber’s maple deserves to be planted and evaluated more widely. Propagation is by seed and reportedly summer cuttings.

Acer fabri (Faber's maple) has not yet been evaluated using the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas (http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment/). Without this assessment, the temporary conclusion is that A. fabri is not a problem species at this time and may be recommended.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH1229, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date December 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Gary W. Knox, Extension specialist and professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.