Shrub Species of the World's Boreal Forests

World Boreal Trees

Terminology | Pictorial

Acer circinatum
Vine Maple
Aceraceae (Maple Family)

A shrub or small tree with short trunk or vinelike branches turning and twisting from the base, growing to a height of 7.5 m and a diameter of 20 cm; sometimes larger.

Vine Maple Description

Distinguishing Features - Leaves: opposite; 6 - 11 cm long; rounded, with 7 - 11 long-pointed lobes, sharply doubly toothed, with 7 - 11 main veins from notched base; long leafstalks with enlarged bases joined; colouration: bright green above, paler with tufts of hairs in vein angles beneath. Bark: gray to brown; smooth or finely grooved. Twigs: slender, green to reddish-brown, with whitish bloom. Flowers: 12 mm wide, with spreading purple sepals and whitish petals; in broad clusters at end of short twigs; with new leaves in spring; generally both male and female on same plant. Fruit: 4 cm long; paired, long-winged keys spreading almost horizontally; reddish when young; single-seeded; maturing in autumn.


Native to Pacific Coast region, south through western British Columbia to California; in moist soil conditions, particularily along shaded stream edges and understory of coniferous forests.


The seeds of the Vine Maple provide feed birds and mammals.

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