The Colchian maple is closely related to the Norway maple ( Acer platanoides ). Its wide distribution area extends from the Mediterranean region across Asia to China.
It is a tree that can grow to be twelve to 20 meters tall . The young twigs are often frosted, shiny green or reddish by the second year. The bark is relatively smooth on older branches and on the trunk , the color ranges from dark brown to a light, whitish gray.
The thin, paper-like leaves are usually seven-lobed, five to 14 centimeters wide and slightly larger in length. Heart-shaped rounded at the base, lobes triangular-ovoid, long pointed, the two lower ones much smaller than the five upper ones. They have entire margins, matt dark green on top and shiny light green on the underside, nerve-like. The stem is five to 15 centimeters long with milky juice in it. When it shoots, the leaves are freshly colored light green, the autumn color is golden yellow to red.
The Colchian maple is monoecious . The flowers are light yellow, 15 to 20 in small, wide, loose, upright cymes . Each flower consists of five sepals and five petals . Male flowers contain eight stamens , female the gynoeceum with two styles . The flowering time is at the end of May.
It occurs in deciduous mountain forests as a tree in the lower canopy.
The Colchian maple is classified within the genus of maples in the section Platanoidea . The name of the section already indicates its relationship with the Norway maple ( Acer platanoides ). In East Asia there are a number of other related species, some of which were already regarded as subspecies of the Colchian maple, such as Acer amplum , Acer longipes or Acer shenkanense .
The Kolchian maple was first described scientifically in 1785 by Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch . The following subspecies can be distinguished:
Acer cappadocicum ssp. cappadocicum - The nominate form is widespread from Asia Minor, the Black Sea region over the Caucasus to the Himalayas and western China. The leaves are usually seven-lobed and relatively large. Two varieties have been selected from this subspecies:
- 'Aureum' - leaves yellowish to yellowish green, less growing.
- 'Rubrum' - leaves reddish.
- Acer cappadocicum ssp. divergens (K. Koch ex Pax) Murr. - This subspecies is common in the Transcaucasus and is much smaller in all parts. The leaves are only three to five lobes, up to five centimeters wide, the plant grows more like a shrub.
- Acer cappadocicum ssp. lobelii (tenor) Murr. - the Calabrian maple , which is sometimes also listed as an independent species, has a small distribution area in southern Italy. the tree reaches a height of about 15 meters, the leaves are relatively large and five-lobed, the lobes characteristically point forward. The Zöschen maple ( Acer × zoeschense ) is a garden hybrid of the Calabrian maple with the field maple ( Acer campestre ). It is sometimes planted in the slightly red-leaved 'Annae' variety.
- Acer cappadocicum ssp. sinicum (Rehder) Hand.-Mazz. - This subspecies, only native to China, has five-lobed leaves that remain quite small at six to eight centimeters. The leaf stalk and fruits are reddish in color.
- Helmut Pirc: Maples . Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 1994, ISBN 3-8001-6554-6 , pp. 114 ff .
- Xu Ting-zhi, Chen Yousheng, Piet C. de Jong, Herman J. Oterdoom, Chin-Sung Chang (design): Aceraceae. In: ZY Wu, PH Raven (Ed.): Flora of China , accessed December 24, 2013.
- Edward Murray: Aceraceae. In: SI Ali, M. Qaiser (Ed.): Flora of Pakistan. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis 2001.