Acer tschonoskii ssp. tschonoskii
Acer pauciflorum - one of the rarest maples in European collections.
Acer pectinatum ssp. maximowiczii
The Rogów Arboretum houses a National Collection of maples, comprising more than 180 taxa. This represents well nigh every species which is able to grow in the climatic conditions of Central Poland. It is the largest collection in Poland and one of the most interesting collections in Europe. It includes some extremely rare and threatened with extinction species as: Acer pauciflorum, A. tsinglingense, A. miaotaiense, A. pycnanthum, A. sinopurpurascens, A. tenellum and many more. Many of those taxa were introduced here as first representatives to Europe and some of them grow today as one of very few or even the only specimens in the continent. Rogów Arboretum is also an active member of The Maple Society.
Genus Acer belongs to the Aceraceae family, to which the monotypic genus, Dipteronia, also present in the Arboretum, belongs as well. To date, more than 124 species of maple have been described; these are divided into 16 sections, 95 subspecies, 8 varieties and one form.
In the Northern hemisphere, maples grow in the North American temperate zone, Europe and Asia including Asia's South-Eastern tropical zone.
In Poland, we have three indigenous species of maple; A. platanoides, A. pseudoplatanus and A. campestre, as well as two naturalised North American species, namely, A. negundo and A. saccharinum.
Maples are a highly diversified plant group. Some of them will reach a height of several dozen metres, others are smallish, spreading shrubs, while others again are reminiscent of bonsai. They can be found in woods and they are frequently planted in parks and home gardens. It is often the case that they draw no attention to themselves until autumn comes. Then, before the first ground frosts appear, the maples' pedate leaves start to become tinted with hues of gold, orange, red, deep crimson and even brown.
Naturally, the leaves are not the only asset held by these trees. Among this genus, so rich in species, there also occur those with fascinating inflorescence, such as A. spicatum), fruit (A. diabolicum), bark and habit.
In the Rogów Arboretum, it is possible to see A. griseum, which originates from China. Its trunk is covered in a cinnamon bark, which peels away in paper-thin layers, exfoliating to spectacular effect and drawing the eye of visitors from afar. Acer griseum also looks glorious in the winter, despite the fact that it is not an evergreen. However, it is at just that time of year that its bark takes on an even more intensive hue and makes a beautiful display.
A. pensylvanicum, A. tegmentosum, and A. davidii also have highly fascinating, striped bark.
A. saccharum, the Sugar Maple, also grows in the Arboretum. This is the tree that gives us the very sweet and sticky maple sap which is then made into syrup and sugar. The sap is tapped from the trunk in the early spring; at the same time, the weather is crucial. Warm sunny days and frosty nights are the most favourable, since these are the conditions which produce sap of the highest quality. For the First Nations of North America, it was a staple food, which is what lay behind the frequent inter-tribal battles over maple forests.
They also lived on other parts of these trees, making flour from the cambium of A. saccharum, A. saccharinum and A. rubrum, for instance. The Blackfoot used the dried and powdered leaves as a flavouring for meat. In Europe, sap is drawn from A. platanoides, the Norway Maple. The young, green seeds came in handy for marinades, even though they were said to be bitter. Children chewed with delight upon the unripened samara, the winged seeds of A. pseudoplatanus, the Sycamore Maple.