Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf deciduous tree or large shrub, 10-20 ft (3-6 m) tall, multistemmed, shrubby, spreading, sprawling and vine-like in forest shade but bushy and dense in sun. Leaves opposite, simple, almost circular in outline, 6-12 cm across, heart-shaped at base, (5)7 to 9(11) lobed, lobes unequal or doubly toothed. In sun develops red, orange, and yellow fall colors. Flowers in clusters of 3-6, perfect or staminate (male), long stalk, sepals deep red, petals greenish white, 6-10 stamens. Fruits 4 cm long, wings horizontally spread, deep red at maturity.
- Sun or deep shade. Prefers moist, shady situations, but tolerates sun.
- Hardy to USDA Zone (4) 5 Found in moist woods and along stream banks from British Columbia south to northern California. Not everyone appreciates this plant in the wild. Hunters in a dense forest can easily trip over the low and long running branches. David Douglas (1799-1834), the intrepid Scottish plant collector, wrote that it “is called by the voyageurs Bois de diable [“wood or tree of the devil”] from the obstruction it gives them in passing through the woods.”
- Considered to be the most useful native tree for the landscape in the Pacific Northwest. Grant and Grant (1990) point out that it has an upright character in sunny locations and "in shade developing an ethereal horizontal grace that few maples achieve". Unfortunately when heavily pruned, much of the "ethereal horizontal grace" is lost.
- A few cultivars are offered, including:
- circinatum: rounded or circular, referring to outline of leaf shape
- Oregon State Univ. campus: north of Cordley (shade) and in parking lot behind Cordley (sun).
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