Acer opalus Mill.

Italian maple

Family: Sapindaceae
54º 34.991N
5º 55.914W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the 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 sunIt 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 do.

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2007. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.