Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree archive
This series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens is compiled by members of the Friends group and Gardens staff. We aim to build up to a comprehensive archive of trees in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Each article illustrates a tree growing in Belfast Botanic Gardens together with information from a range of sources. Where possible we will give the tree tag number - these are the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
by Philip James Smyth
A fine specimen of this species is growing on the East Walk as part of the Acer collection established as long ago as 1830. A. opalus is native to Southern Europe and its common name is the Italian Maple.
Our tree is around 45ft high and has a girth of 6ft 6in at one metre from the ground. A decorative parkland tree that has a beautiful billowing effect with its branches. The sulphur yellow flowers appear at bud burst and cover the tree, creating a great splash of colour especially in the spring sun.
It is an early flowering tree usually mid- to late-March. However in 2007 the first splash of colour started the last week in February. The winter was so mild with very little frost resulting in plants not doing what they should.