Acer davidii is also known as Père David’s Maple or Snakebark Maple. It is part of the Sapindaceae family of plants and is a species of maple. Acer davidii is native to China.
It was first discovered by Armand David or Père David (1826-1900), a French missionary catholic priest and botanist. He was sent to China in 1851 and commissioned by the Jardin des Plantes to obtain specimens. It was later discovered again in 1878 by Charles Maries (1851-1902), an English botanist and plant collector sent by James Veitch & Sons to Asia.
Acer davidii is a small deciduous tree. It can grow to 15m or 50ft tall with a truck of about 40cm or 18in. in diameter. Acer davidii has smooth olive green bark but the shoots start as red and then turn green and white. It has really beautiful bark.
Acer davidii foliage is dark green. The leaves are paler lower on the plant. The leaves are ovate with a serrated margin. In autumn the leaves turn yellow and orange, adding beautiful color to the landscape.
In late spring Acer davidii produces arching pendulous racemes of small yellow flowers with five sepals and petals. The male and female flowers usually appear on separate racemes. After flowering, the Acer davidii produces small fruit or winged seeds.
How to plant and grow Acer davidii
Place Acer davidii in the sun or partial shade. Plant it in moist but well-drained soil. Acer davidii does well in most types of soils as long as it is well-drained.
When planting the young tree use a stake to support it until it is established. Also use a rabbit guard while the plant is young, clear out weeds around it and after a couple of seasons, it should be established enough to ease up and let it grow further.
Acer davidii does not need much pruning except to remove damaged branches, it is best to prune it in autumn. Propagate Acer davidii by softwood cuttings or grafting. Watch out for aphids, horse chestnut scale, or verticillium wilt.
Also read about Acer capillipes