Acer circinatum 'Little Gem'
Common name: 
Little Gem Vine Maple
Pronunciation: 
A-ser sir-SIN-a-tum
Family: 
Aceraceae
Genus: 
Type: 
Broadleaf
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
Yes
  • Deciduous dwarf shrub, forms a dense mound, rarely exceeds 3.5 ft (1 m) in height.  Leaves opposite, simple, closely spaced, only about 1-4 cm wide, slightly red tinged in spring, green in summer, may develop orange and red colors in fall.
  • Sun or deep shade.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 5      
  • The story of 'Little Gem':
    • In about 1970, Harold Greer, of Greer Gardens, Eugene Oregon, toured Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C. with Alleyne Cook , the head gardener of the Park'’s Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden. Cook pointed out a native vine maple, Acer circinatum, that had interesting dwarfish growth (a witch’s broom) in the upper part of the tree.   He wondered if anyone would be interested in producing a dwarf vine maple tree from this material.   Greer immediately thought of J. D. Vertrees, of Roseburg, Oregon, and his interest in maples and asked Mr. Cook to send some cutting of the witch's broom to him in Eugene in the winter.  The cuttings arrived that winter and Greer took them to Vertrees who subsequently grafted them to vine maple rootstocks.   Vertrees named the new dwarf vine maple ‘'Little Gem'.
              The vine maple tree in Stanley Park with the witch’s broom was destroyed by a snow fall a year or so after the cuttings were taken.
  • Portland, Oregon: Hoyt Arboretum
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • leaves

    leaves