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Featured Plant Of The Month

There is always something in bloom at the Arboretum! Use our Plants Library to plan a photo shoot or to choose one of the trails to walk. Learn more about the plants at the Arboretum by visiting our Previously Featured Plants list and our Special Seasonal Featured Plants page.


Purpleblow Maple (Acer truncatum)

Purpleblow Maple Tree A variety of ornamental maples are planted in the Arboretum's Shade Tree Collection. One of these, the Purpleblow Maple (also called Shantung Maple), produces a conspicuous display of greenish-yellow flowers in late March and early April. This tree, native to China, Manchuria, and Korea, grows to heights of 20 to 25 ft., with a broad, rounded crown. Its distinctive green leaves have three prominent sharp lobes with two smaller lobes along the flattened (or truncated) base. The samaras (two-winged, two-seeded fruits) are 1 to 1.5 in. long. The bark of young trees is smooth and often has a purplish hue, but it becomes ridged as the tree matures. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow to orange with prominent dark red leaf veins.

Purpleblow Maple Spring Purpleblow Maple Flower Purpleblow Maple Fall

Several cultivars have been developed with distinctive yellow to red foliage. This tree has a variety of uses. The sweet sap can be collected in the spring - it is less concentrated than the sap of sugar maples, and is used primarily as a drink. The leaves have been used as packing material for apples and root crops, and leaf extracts exhibit antibacterial activity. The dense wood has been used as a fuel.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu