Montpellier maple (Acer monspessulanum)
The montpellier maple is a species of maple native to the Mediterranean region from Morocco and Portugal in the west, to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel in the east, and north to the Jura Mountains in France and the Eifel in Germany.
Among maples not endemic to Japan, A. monspessulanum (and the similar A. campestre) are popular among bonsai enthusiasts. In both cases, the smallish leaves and shrubby habit of the maple respond well to techniques to encourage leaf reduction and ramification. These bonsai have an appearance distinct from those created from maples such as Acer palmatum whose leaves are more frilly and translucent.
Otherwise, Acer monspessulanum is rarely seen in cultivation outside of arboreta. In the United States, a mature specimen may be seen at Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts. A specimen can also be found in the arboretum of the Montreal Botanical Gardens.
cer monspessulanum is a medium-sized deciduous tree or densely branched shrub that grows to a height of 10–15 m.The trunk is up to 75 cm diameter, with smooth, dark grey bark on young trees, becoming finely fissured on old trees. Among similar maples is most easily distinguished by its small three-lobed leaves, 3–6 cm long and 3–7 cm wide, glossy dark green, sometimes a bit leathery, and with a smooth margin, with a 2–5 cm petiole. The leaves fall very late in autumn, typically in November. The flowers are produced in spring, in pendulous, yellow to white corymbs 2–3 cm long. The samaras are 2–3 cm long with rounded nutlets.
Autumn colors (Photo: G. Aas)