Vine Maple

Acer circinatum

Vine Maple
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Early Spring brings fresh buds
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Even where it has been browsed
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Then Buds Pop
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And you can see the leaves forming
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Flower Cluster
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Single Flower wide open
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Bugs frequent flowers
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hug a flower
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Another bug
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New leaf cluster
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More mature flower
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Closer view
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Seeds forming
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Mature leaves will turn many colors of red and yellow on the first freeze in the fall
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The seeds will dry and the wings help them flutter away in the wind
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Fall Colors are often bright

The vine maple is a common shrub in Western Oregon. It grows with many stems and may attain a height of 50 feet or so. The wood is very strong and springy. It can be of a particular hazard to loggers because it can if sprung and released cause great bodily harm. On the useful side it provides browse for deer and elk.

A fairly slow growing shrub, it is often included in native plant landscaping schemes A fall frost will turn the leaves many shades of red.

The second and third frames show spring buds getting ready to pop. The third frame shows a chewed off branch preparing to leaf out and sprout around the missing terminal bud.

In Western Oregon when one speaks of brush land, he is often speaking where vine maples dominate, although they are found in open spots among within Douglas Fir stands and can survive as understory as well except in the most densely shaded areas. The small strong branches are ideal for weeny or marshmellow roasts.

As the buds open to let out the leaf clusters, a short stem also comes out with the flower cluster. Although the leaves will eventually stiffen and spread themselves you can see them in some of photos hanging limply. They seem to grow to size and then spread and stiffen.

The flowers go 'to seed' quickly with the seed structures beginning to form in May with the photo showing the formation of the characteristic 'helicopter wings' appearing in a photo taken in late May while many other plants are just getting going. Indeed the Vine Maple itself is barely leafed out, but the seeds are already forming.

- - Updated 12/20/2012
- - Updated 05/17/2008
- - Updated 05/02/2008
- - Updated 04/24/2008
- - Updated 04/14/2008
- - Updated 8/9/2007
- - Updated 10/07/2007
- - Updated 03/23/2008
--Updated 03/30/2008
- - Updated 04/03/2008