Up to bat today is another maple – Stripe Bark Maple, to be exact. I think the name says it all.
Stripe Bark Maple – Acer pennsylvanicum
Category: Bark and Berries
Stripe Bark Maple has another common name, which sounds a little more sinister: Snake Bark Maple. In either case, I don’t think you have to worry about its bite. And its bark is just divine!
Stripe Bark grows from zones 3 to 7, reaching its branches to a height of 15′ to 25′, and spreading them out from 12′ to 20′. It’s at its best planted in part-shade in well-drained, slightly acidic soils. In fact, this plant loves shade, and, once established, will grow well in heavy shade conditions, though it doesn’t really tolerate urban pollution well.
In the South, this plant is native from Georgia to the Appalachians. A young Stripe Bark Maple tree’s bark comes in green, marked with distinctive vertical white stripes. As the tree matures, the stripes may disappear, and the bark will turn reddish-brown.
With the onset of fall, leaves turn a bright yellow, adding a touch a glamour to a gloomy winter garden. And in winter, those distinctive “snake-like” vertical white stripes really stand out in the garden environment.
Stripe Bark Maple is a good tree to use in shady, naturalized areas and woodland gardens, where it will thrive in the shade.
Stripe Bark Maple Variety
‘Erythrocladum’ is an attractive selection available you might be able to obtain from specialty nurseries. Younger stems turn a bright red after autumn leaf fall. Coupled with the white stem striations, this makes an attractive contrast and lends a fine look for winter interest.
Some plants can cause confusion and be difficult to locate in the trade because in wide-spread geographic areas they may answer to different common names. Acer pennsylvanicum is kind of weird in that it has lots of different common names.
- Stripe Bark (named for the white stripes against green bark)
- Snake Bark (ditto)
- Goose Foot Maple (evidently, because the leave resembles a goose’s foot)
- Moosewood (because moose and whitetail deer like to browse tender young twigs and leaves)
- Whistlewood (want a whistle? They can easily be carved from its branches)
What Makes Stripe Bark Maple a Great Addition to the Winter Garden?
- Brilliant yellow fall color brightens grey late-autumn afternoons
- That green bark with the white striations
- With ‘Erythrocladum’, those red stems against “snaky” white stripes
Coming to the Plate: Ironwood