This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Trees or shrubs with opposite deciduous palmately lobed or divided leaves and small polygamous racemose flowers. Disk annular, fleshy, lobed. Fruit of two spreading samaras with long wings. About fifty species, inhabiting the temperate regions of the North. The ancient Latin name of the Maple. Many of the species are very ornamental rapid-growing trees.
1. A, campestris. Common Maple. - This is the only indigenous species, rarely seen as a tree, though commonly seen in hedgerows in the South of England. The leaves are reni-form and 5-lobed; lobes acute or obtuse in different forms. The bark is corky.
2. A. Pseudoplatanus False Sycamore. - This has been so extensively planted as to appear wild in many localities. It is a native of Central Europe and West Asia. A fast-growing handsome tree, valuable for planting in bleak places near the sea, etc. The ordinary form is too well known to need description, but there are some varieties we must allude to, viz.: variegatum in which the leaves are irregularly striped with yellow, purpurascens with leaves of a purplish tinge, and erythrocarpum with red fruits.
3. A. Monspessulanum. - A handsome small tree with a rounded head. The leaves are comparatively small, coriaceous, shining, and palmately 3-lobed; lobes very obtuse. This tree has a very pretty appearance in Spring when clothed with its yellowish-green flowers before the leaves are fully developed. It is a native of Central Europe, and quite hardy in Britain.
4. A. eriocdrpum,syn. A. dasycdrpon. - A very rapid-growing ornamental tree from 70 to 90 feet high with large deeply 5-lobed and toothed leaves bright green above and silvery white beneath, which assume a pretty yellow tint in Autumn. Flowers in umbellate clusters preceding the leaves. Fruit large, densely hairy when young, eventually glabrous. A North American species.
5. A. rubrum. Curled Maple. - A large tree with ample foliage. Leaves 3- to 5-lobed, with acute sinuses and irregular teeth, pale underneath. The flowers are red or scarlet, and are produced in great profusion in Spring before the appearance of the leaves. Fruit-lobes nearly erect. There are varieties in which the foliage is variegated with white or yellow. North America.
6. A. saccharinum. Sugar Maple or Bird's-eye Maple.A smaller tree than the two last, and less beautiful, but of far greater economic utility, furnishing an abundance of sugar from its sap, and also a very handsome wood, much prized for interior work and cabinet making. The leaves are 3- or 5-lobed; lobes with rounded sinuses and remote teeth, slightly hairy beneath. Flowers appearing with the leaves. Wings of the fruit nearly erect. A. nigrum is a slightly different variety. North America.
7. A. Pennsylvanicum, syn. A. striatum. Snake Maple. - A very distinct small tree with 3-lobed finely-toothed leaves, lobes narrowly acuminate. Flowers greenish, in long drooping racemes, appearing after the leaves. Fruit large, with spreading wings. The stem of this small tree is prettily striped with light or dark lines. North America.
8. A. circinatum. - A shrubby species with roundish cordate 7- to 9-lobed serrulated leaves, reddish umbellate flowers and fruits. A native of North-western America.
9. A. polymorphum, syn. A. palmdtum, A. dissectum, and A. septemlobum. - This handsome Japanese species includes some of the most elegant varieties in cultivation. They vary in foliage from palmately 5-lobed leaves with toothed undivided lobes to deeply 7- or 9-lobed, with more or less finely cut divisions. There are also some extremely fine variegated and purple-leaved forms. In all its forms this is a tree of small stature and regular outline, having slender branches and numerous purplish flowers followed by spreading oblong samaras.
10. A. Colchicum rubrum. - This is the A. Mono or Iaetum. The leaves are from 5- to 7-lobed and quite glabrous; lobes triangular or oblong, entire, acuminate; petioles long and slender. Flowers appearing with the leaves. Fruit-lobes large, spreading. A. pictum is a variety variegated with white. The name rubrum refers to the colour of the young twigs.
11. A. platanoldes. Norway Maple. - This is one of the handsomest and hardiest species, resembling the Plane in its noble foliage. Leaves 5-lobed, lobes more or less toothed or laciniate. Flower-corymbs erect. There are several varieties of this in cultivation, including the Eagle's or Kite's Claw, A. cucullatum and lacinidtum, Lobelii, variegdtum, etc.
12. A. Tataricum, syn. cordifolium. - A shrub or small tree with oblong-cordate leaves irregularly sharply toothed or rarely lobed. Flowers small, paniculate, appearing with the leaves. Fruit red. A native of South-eastern Europe, the Caucasus, etc.