‘Fendai’, ‘Simmeiwu’, and ‘Caizhe’: Three New Ornamental Acer elegantulum Cultivars

in HortScience
Authors:
Le-Jing LinNingbo City College of Vocational Technology, Ningbo 315100, Zhejiang, China

Search for other papers by Le-Jing Lin in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Li LinNingbo City College of Vocational Technology, Ningbo 315100, Zhejiang, China

Search for other papers by Li Lin in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Zhi-Yong ZhuNingbo City College of Vocational Technology, Ningbo 315100, Zhejiang, China

Search for other papers by Zhi-Yong Zhu in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

Acer (maple) species and their horticultural varieties are world-famous ornamental trees with colored leaves that are widely used in natural and potted landscaping, as well as gardening (Lin et al., 2015). Japan and the United States breed the most maple varieties, which are hybridized or selected from A. palmatum, A. saccharum, A. rubrum, A. japonicum, A. shirasawanum, A. buergerianum, and A. morifolium (Gao et al., 2015). In recent years, China has become more involved in the cultivation of maple varieties (Zhu et al., 2018). According to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, nearly 50 new Acer cultivars have been certified in recent years. After more than 10 years of continuous work, more than 30 horticultural cultivars with specific fruit shapes, leaf colors, and branches from A. elegantulum, A. palmatum, and A. pubipalmatum have been bred at Ningbo City College of Vocational Technology, and 10 have been registered as new cultivars by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration. In particular, ‘Fendai’, ‘Simmeiwu’, and ‘Caizhe’ stand out with a bright, unique leaf color and have greater ornamental potential than the origin species of A. elegantulum.

Acer elegantulum is a deciduous tree distributed in East Asia (Xu et al., 2008). Trees are up to 15 m tall. Foliage is thick and papery, with short hairs on the middle vein. Mature leaves are 5 to 13 cm long and 7 to 16 cm wide, with a base that is truncate or broadly cordate. The leaf apex is acuminate and serrated. Leaves have 5 or 7 lobes located deep to one-half to three-fourths the leaf length, and the petiole is 2.8 to 6 cm long. Inflorescences are paniculate and terminal on a two-leaf branchlet (Lin et al., 2017). The formula is K5/C5A8 (Xu, 1998): five sepals that are ovate to oblong and ≈2 mm, five petals that are obovate and ≈2 mm, and eight stamen that are Samara glabrous and ≈6 × 5 mm with obtusely spreading wings. The ornamental value of A. elegantulum is not as high as A. palmatum, so this species is often used as the grafting stock of A. palmatum varieties, such as A. palmatum ‘Dissectum’, A. palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’, and A. palmatum ‘Aureum’. This is an effective way to improve the ornamental value and economic benefits of A. elegantulum.

Origin

‘Fendai’.

In mid-May 2013, ≈20,000 A. elegantulum seedlings were planted in the Liyang Maple Nursery, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, China. One branch of a seedling was found with different colored leaves, including purple, pink, and light red. In September, two buds were selected from the branch with the most obvious leaf-color variations (referred to as the mother tree), and two grafted plants (referred to as first-generation plants) were obtained by grafting onto 1-year-old A. elegantulum rootstocks. In May 2014, three buds were selected from the first-generation plants and grafted onto A. elegantulum rootstocks (referred to as the second-generation plants). At the same time, six buds were selected from the mother tree and grafted onto 1-year-old A. elegantulum rootstocks. In Feb. 2015, another three buds were selected from the mother tree and grafted onto A. elegantulum rootstocks. Eight buds were selected from the second-generation plants and grafted onto A. elegantulum rootstocks (referred to as third-generation plants). In Sept. 2015, nine buds were selected from each of the first-, second-, and third-generation plants and grafted onto A. elegantulum rootstocks. Afterward, more than 1000 branches were grafted and propagated. After 6 years of observation, the cultivar showed a high survival ratio, with strong adaptability and consistent and stable ornamental characteristics. Colors were designated using the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) color chart (Royal Horticultural Society, 1996). In Aug. 2016, ‘Fendai’ was evaluated and registered as a new cultivar in Ningbo by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

‘Simmeiwu’.

In June 2015, in the nursery of Lingjiao Village, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, China, ≈30,000 A. elegantulum seedlings were planted, and one branch of a seedling (referred to as the mother tree) was found to have bright-red leaves with dark green patches, which was aesthetically pleasing. In Oct. 2015, a bud was selected from the variation branch of the mother tree and grafted onto 2-year-old A. elegantulum rootstocks to obtain a grafted plant (referred to as the first-generation plant). From April to July 2016, the variation traits of the first-generation plant were observed continuously, and they were consistent with those of the mother tree (the leaves and branches both exhibited stable color traits). In June 2016, the buds were selected from the variation branches of the mother tree and grafted onto 2-year-old A. elegantulum rootstocks. Sprout development and leaf-color traits were consistent with those of the variation branches of the mother tree. Four second-generation plants were obtained by grafting buds from the first-generation plants. In Oct. 2016, 10 plants were grafted with buds from the mother tree and the first-generation plants. In Spring 2017, the leaf-color traits were observed to be consistent with the variation traits of the mother tree. Afterward, the branches were continuously selected for graft propagation. After observing the variation characteristics of the grafted plants for more than 5 years, the cultivar exhibited a high survival ratio, with strong resistance and stable ornamental characteristics consistent with those of the mother tree. In Dec. 2018, ‘Simmeiwu’ was registered as a new cultivar by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

‘Caizhe’.

In July 2015, in the nursery of Wangmingtang Village, Shengzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China, ≈50,000 A. elegantulum seedlings were planted. A branch on a young seedling (referred to as the mother tree) was found to have leaves with rose-red margins and green middles, and the wrinkled leaf shape was also inconsistent with other leaves. Only the variation branch was retained to promote its growth and for further observation. From July 2015 to Oct. 2016, it exhibited stable traits. The branches were selected from the mother tree and grafted onto A. elegantulum rootstocks. Six plants survived (referred to as first-generation plants), and the variation characteristics were observed from Apr. to Oct. 2017. The variation traits of the first-generation plants were consistent with those of the mother tree. In Oct. 2017, 22 grafted branches were selected from the first-generation plants and grafted onto rootstocks (referred to as second-generation plants). In May 2018, the leaf-color characteristics were observed to be consistent and stable with the mother tree. In Oct. 2018, branches from the mother tree, and first-generation and second-generation plants were grafted onto rootstocks; 35 small, grafted plants survived. After more than 4 years of observation, the cultivar has a high survival ratio, with strong resistance and special ornamental traits, which are consistent and stable with the mother tree. In July 2020, ‘Caizhe’ was registered as a new cultivar by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Description

Acer elegantulum ‘Fendai’ (Fig. 1A) is an evacuation stratified, upright-growing, small tree that reaches a height of 3.8 m after 5 years of field growth under full-sun conditions in Ningbo. Buds sprout from late February to early March. Branches of the current year are rose-red (RHS 7423C). New leaves in spring are rose-red (RHS 208C), and mature leaves are dark pink (RHS 7423C), sometimes with purple-red (RHS 497C) streaks (Fig. 1B). Early summer leaves are pink (RHS 250C) or alternate with green (RHS 2279C), and then turn yellow (RHS 7499C) by the end of July. Beginning in August, leaves begin to turn golden yellow (RHS 2032C), and fall in November. In general, mature leaves of this cultivar are smaller than wild species: 4.5 to 10 cm long and 5 to 11 cm wide. The flower comprises of five purplish red (RHS 7640C) sepals and five pale-yellow (RHS 663C) petals (Lin et al., 2017). Fruit is pale green (RHS 580C), with pale-pink (RHS 264C) wings in summer (Fig. 1C), and it turns pale yellow (RHS 7596C) with ripening.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

(A) A 6-year-old tree, (B) new leaves, and (C) fruit of Acer elegantulum ‘Fendai’ in full sun in the afternoon.

Citation: HortScience 57, 5; 10.21273/HORTSCI16349-21

Acer elegantulum ‘Simmeiwu’ is a densely branched, slow-growing, small tree. Buds sprout from early March under full-sun conditions in Ningbo. The leaf blades are papery and heart-shaped at the base, with five or seven palmate lobes. The central and lateral lobes are broad and irregular, and the apex is long and acuminate, with coarsely serrated edges (Fig. 2A). In spring, new leaves are rose-red (RHS 673C), whereas mature leaves are pink (RHS 275C), but both have green (RHS 5477C) patches or spots along the veins (Fig. 2A). Leaves begin to turn light pink (RHS 685C) with dark-green (RHS 5605C) patches or spots in late July or early August (Fig. 2C), and then gradually turn rose-purple (RHS 7595C), with pale-pink (RHS 670C) patches on the edge, by the end of October. Leaves of ‘Simmeiwu’ are smaller than wild species: 5.4 to 9.8 cm long and 6 to 11.4 cm wide. Flowers of this cultivar are similar to those of wild species.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

(A) Mature leaf, (B) new leaves, and (C) summer leaves of Acer elegantulum ‘Simmeiwu’ in full sun in the afternoon.

Citation: HortScience 57, 5; 10.21273/HORTSCI16349-21

Acer elegantulum ‘Caizhe’ is an evacuation-stratified, upright-growing, small tree that reaches a height of 3.6 m after 5 years of field growth under full-sun conditions in Ningbo. Buds sprout from early March. The foliage is thin and papery, usually three-lobed or rarely five-lobed, and the base nearly heart-shaped. Leaves are veined, usually irregular at the central and lateral lobes, with slightly wavy folds at the leaf margins. The leaf apex is long, acuminate, and slightly serrated. In spring, leaves are brownish green (RHS 7589C) with rose-red (RHS 183C) streaks on the edge (Fig. 3A). Summer leaves turn green (RHS 7494C) with ring-shaped pale-pink (RHS 7436C) margins. In late August, leaves begin to turn orange (RHS 1235C), and then fall in November. Leaves of ‘Caizhe’ are smaller than wild species: 6 to 9.5 cm in length and 6 to 10.5 cm in width. Flowers and fruit are similar to wild species.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

(A) Spring leaves, (B) summer leaves, and (C) autumn leaves of Acer elegantulum ‘Caizhe’ in full sun in the afternoon.

Citation: HortScience 57, 5; 10.21273/HORTSCI16349-21

Culture

Acer elegantulum ‘Fendai’, ‘Simmeiwu’, and ‘Caizhe’ are all suitable for growing in subtropical climatic regions. Seedlings should be grown in semishaded areas because they are adapted to warm, cool, and humid conditions. They can grow on neutral, acidic, and calcareous soil, but they grow best in deep, fertile, humid soil. They grow rapidly, have deep roots, withstand strong winds, and are highly resistant to pests and diseases.

Propagation

Acer elegantulum ‘Fendai’, ‘Simmeiwu’, and ‘Caizhe’ are suitable for graft propagation, and their propagation methods are similar. Grafting should be conducted in autumn (from September to October) or spring (from March to April). One-year-old branches or plump buds are selected for grafting, and 1- or 2-year-old wild A. elegantulum seedlings are used as rootstocks. Using cleft grafting, the survival ratios of ‘Fendai’, ‘Simmeiwu’, and ‘Caizhe’ were 91%, 94%, and 92%, respectively.

Availability

Acer elegantulum ‘Fendai’, ‘Simmeiwu’, and ‘Caizhe’ were evaluated and registered as new cultivars by National Forestry Administration of China, and plant patents were approved in 2016, 2018, and 2020 (patent nos. 20160080, 20180351, and 20200162), respectively, in China. The propagation and production rights have not been assigned to any commercial company yet.

Literature Cited

  • Gao, J., Meng, W.H., Du, F. & Li, J.Q. 2015 DNA barcoding of Acer palmatum (Aceraceae) Plant Sci. J. 33 6 734 743

  • Lin, L.J., Lin, L. & Zhu, Z.Y. 2015 ISSR analysis of the genetic relationships among 25 Acer plants germplasm resources Guihaia 35 1 9 14

  • Lin, L., Lin, L.J., Zhu, Z.Y., Ding, Y.L. & Kuai, B.K. 2017 Study on the taxonomy and molecular phylogeny of Acer in China Acta Hort. Sin. 44 8 1535 1547

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Royal Horticultural Society 1996 RHS colour chart Royal Horticultural Society London, UK

  • Xu, T.Z 1998 The systematic evolution and distribution of the genus Acer Acta Bot. Yunnan. 20 4 383 393

  • Xu, T.Z., Chen, Y.S., de Jong, P.C., Oterdoom, H.J. & Chang, C.S. 2008 Flora of China 515 553 Science Press Beijing, China

  • Zhu, Z.Y., Lin, L.J. & Lin, L. 2018 Two new cultivars of Acer elegantulum ‘Huangjin’ and ‘Huangying’ Acta Hort. Sin. 45 S2 2833 2834

Contributor Notes

This study was supported by the Ningbo Scientific and Technological Innovation 2025 Major Projects (no. 2019B10012).

Li Lin is the corresponding author. E-mail: linli851111@163.com.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

 

  • View in gallery
    Fig. 1.

    (A) A 6-year-old tree, (B) new leaves, and (C) fruit of Acer elegantulum ‘Fendai’ in full sun in the afternoon.

  • View in gallery
    Fig. 2.

    (A) Mature leaf, (B) new leaves, and (C) summer leaves of Acer elegantulum ‘Simmeiwu’ in full sun in the afternoon.

  • View in gallery
    Fig. 3.

    (A) Spring leaves, (B) summer leaves, and (C) autumn leaves of Acer elegantulum ‘Caizhe’ in full sun in the afternoon.

  • Gao, J., Meng, W.H., Du, F. & Li, J.Q. 2015 DNA barcoding of Acer palmatum (Aceraceae) Plant Sci. J. 33 6 734 743

  • Lin, L.J., Lin, L. & Zhu, Z.Y. 2015 ISSR analysis of the genetic relationships among 25 Acer plants germplasm resources Guihaia 35 1 9 14

  • Lin, L., Lin, L.J., Zhu, Z.Y., Ding, Y.L. & Kuai, B.K. 2017 Study on the taxonomy and molecular phylogeny of Acer in China Acta Hort. Sin. 44 8 1535 1547

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Royal Horticultural Society 1996 RHS colour chart Royal Horticultural Society London, UK

  • Xu, T.Z 1998 The systematic evolution and distribution of the genus Acer Acta Bot. Yunnan. 20 4 383 393

  • Xu, T.Z., Chen, Y.S., de Jong, P.C., Oterdoom, H.J. & Chang, C.S. 2008 Flora of China 515 553 Science Press Beijing, China

  • Zhu, Z.Y., Lin, L.J. & Lin, L. 2018 Two new cultivars of Acer elegantulum ‘Huangjin’ and ‘Huangying’ Acta Hort. Sin. 45 S2 2833 2834

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 158 158 12
PDF Downloads 170 170 15