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Opium Maple - Acer campestre

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Acer campestre or opium maple

Also called Opium Maple, it is a medium-sized tree, found naturally in Europe, in western Asia and in North Africa. The development is quite fast in the first years of life of the plant, later it becomes slow, and brings the tree up to a height of 6-9 meters, making it interesting even for gardens that are not excessively large.

It produces a short, stocky stem with gray or brown bark, deeply cracked in the older specimens; the foliage is palmate, with five lobes, as in most maples, sometimes it has only three lobes; the dimensions are slightly smaller than the leaves of other maple species, the color is bright green, it becomes golden in autumn, before the leaves fall. In spring it produces small greenish flowers, hermaphrodites, carried in apical inflorescences; in summer the flowers are followed by the fruits, the samare, or small flattened seeds that have a long papyrus wing, which allows the seeds to be carried by the wind even for long journeys. The field maple samare are paired and inserted at 180 ° on the petiole that carries them, they are practically attached "back to back".


How opium maple is grown

The field maple or opium maple is a tree found in nature in most of the Peninsula, from the Po valley to Lake Trasimeno to Sila; therefore it is a tree that tolerates winter frost well, as well as the summer heat, without showing any kind of suffering. It tends to settle for any terrain, preferring alkaline or neutral ones, even if compact or stony.

It prefers sunny or semi-shady places, especially in the early stages of life loves shade, which allows young shoots to develop better.

It does not fear drought, and can also withstand slightly saline soil, near the sea, as well as the sea wind, which often ruins most of the plants.

It does not require great care, even if, as always happens with trees, it is good to position the young plants with a nice brace, in order to make them develop straight, without fear of the veto, until they have produced a nice root system .

In the first years of life it is also good to water the plant, at the time of planting, and later in the summer, especially in case of drought; it is not a tree that needs moist soil, so water only if the soil remains dry for long periods of time.

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