The Norway Maple Acer platanoides: a native of eastern and central Europe as well as western Asia, was introduced as an ornamental tree during the 1600’s and can reach 30 metres in height. As it is tolerant of air pollution, it is widely planted in urban areas as well as within parks and large gardens.
During autumn and winter it displays dark red buds which burst into large, palm-shaped leaves in late spring each producing several long ‘whiskers’ at the end of the five to seven leaf lobes. The caterpillars of several moth species feed on the leaves. The tiny flowers, produced during spring before the leaves unfurl, are also visited by a range of pollinating insects.
This variety ‘Crimson King’ displays beautiful dark red-purple leaves and winged seeds. The winged seeds, sometimes called ‘helicopters’ by the way they spin as they fall to the ground, have a woody ‘wing’ which causes the seed to move sideways when it is shed during the autumn or winter, ensuring that it germinates some distance away from the parent tree.