The World of Plants

a little database


General description: maples are mostly deciduous trees and shrubs; they are distinguished by opposite leaf arrangement. The leaves in most species are palmate veined and lobed, with 3-9 (rarely to 13) veins each leading to a lobe, one of which is central or apical.

Common name: Maple

Family: Aceraceae (or, with Aesculus, Sapindaceae)

Height: 10 – 45 m.

Aspect: sunny; sheltered

Soil requirements: slightly acid

Why we use in horticulture: autumn colour.
Numerous maple cultivars which have been selected for particular characteristics can be propagated only by asexual reproduction such as cuttings, tissue culture, budding or grafting. Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) alone has over 1,000 cultivars, most selected in Japan, and many of them no longer propagated or not in cultivation in the Western world. Some delicate cultivars are usually grown in pots and rarely reach heights of more than 50–100 cm

Notes: maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in Sapindaceae. The type species of the genus is Acer pseudoplatanus (Sycamore maple)


December 20, 2010 Posted by | Acer, TREES (DECIDUOUS) | Leave a comment


General description: Monoecious tree closely related to the birches

Common name: Alder

Family: Betulaceae

Height: 25 – 30 m.

Aspect: sunny

Soil requirements: in general, alders thrive in very wet soil.

Why we use in horticulture:

Notes: Alder is particularly noted for its important symbiotic relationship with Frankia alni, a nitrogen-fixing bacterium. This bacterium is found in root nodules which may be as large as a human fist, with many small lobes and light brown in appearance. The bacterium absorbs nitrogen from the air and makes it available to the tree. Alder, in turn, provides the bacterium with carbon, which it produces through photosynthesis. As a result of this mutually-beneficial relationship, alder improves the fertility of the soils where it grows, and as a pioneer species, it helps provide additional nitrogen for the successional species which follow.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Alnus, TREES (DECIDUOUS) | Leave a comment


General description: Birch species are generally small to medium-size trees or shrubs, mostly of temperate climates.

Common name: Birch

Family: Betulaceae

Height: 20 m.

Aspect: sunny

Soil requirements: moist and well drained; acidic

Why we use in horticulture: one of the most attractive species is the Betula utilis jaquemontii, that – with its white bark and delicate twigs pattern – makes a winter garden less dull and colourless.
In autumn the leaves turn to gold-yellow

Notes: Birches are regarded as pioneer species, rapidly colonising open ground especially in secondary successional sequences following a disturbance or fire. Birches are early tree species to establish in primary successions and can become a threat to heathland if the seedlings and saplings are not suppressed by grazing or periodic burning.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Betula, TREES (DECIDUOUS) | Leave a comment