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Acer campestre, common name field maple, is a maple native to much of Europe, north to southern Scotland (where it is the only native maple), Denmark, Poland and Belarus, and also southwest Asia from Turkey to the Caucasus, and north Africa in the Atlas Mountains. In North America it is known as hedge maple and in Australia, it is sometimes called common maple.
It is a deciduous tree reaching 15–25 metres (49–82 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter, with finely fissured, often somewhat corky bark. The shoots are brown, with dark brown winter buds. The leaves are in opposite pairs, 5–16 centimetres (2.0–6.3 in) long (including the 3–9 centimetres (1.2–3.5 in) petiole) and 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) broad, with five blunt, rounded lobes with a smooth margin. Usually monoecious, the flowers are produced in spring at the same time as the leaves open, yellow-green, in erect clusters 4–6 centimetres (1.6–2.4 in) across, and are insect-pollinated. The fruit is a samara with two winged achenes aligned at 180°, each achene is 8–10 millimetres (0.31–0.39 in) wide, flat, with a 2 centimetres (0.79 in) wing.
- A. campestre var. campestre - downy fruit
- A. campestre var. leiocarpum (Opiz) Wallr. (syn. A. campestre subsp. leiocarpum) - hairless fruit
Field maple is an intermediate species in the ecological succession of disturbed areas; it typically is not among the first trees to colonise a freshly disturbed area, but instead seeds in under the existing vegetation. It is very shade-tolerant during the initial stages of its life, but it has higher light requirements during its seed-bearing years. It exhibits rapid growth initially, but is eventually overtaken and replaced by other trees as the forest matures. It is most commonly found on neutral to alkaline soils, but more rarely on acidic soil.
Diseases include a leaf spot fungus Didymosporina aceris, a mildew Uncinula bicornis, a canker Nectria galligena, and verticillium wilt Verticillium alboatrum. The leaves are also sometimes damaged by gall mites in the genus Aceria, and the aphid Periphyllus villosus.
The field maple is widely grown as an ornamental tree in parks and large gardens. The wood is white, hard and strong, and used for furniture, flooring, wood turning and musical instruments, though the small size of the tree and its relatively slow growth make it an unimportant wood.
A. campestre (and the similar A. monspessulanum) are popular among bonsai enthusiasts. The dwarf cultivar 'Microphyllum' is especially useful in this regard. A. campestre bonsai have an appearance distinct from those selected from some other maples such as A. palmatum with more frilly, translucent, leaves. The shrubby habit and smallish leaves of A. campestre respond well to techniques encouraging ramification and leaf reduction.
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