It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 10 metres (33 ft) tall with a trunk up to 50 centimetres (20 in) diameter. The bark is dark grey, smooth in young trees, becoming scaly and shallowly fissured in mature trees. The shoots are green at first, becoming dull brown in the second year. The leaves are opposite, hard and leathery in texture, 1–4 centimetres (0.39–1.57 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.18 in) across, glossy dark green with a yellow 1 centimetre (0.39 in) petiole, variably unlobed or three-lobed (often on the same shoot); the lobes have an entire margin. The flowers are yellow-green, produced in small pendulous corymbs. The fruit is a double samara with two rounded, winged seeds, the wings 1.5–3 centimetres (0.59–1.18 in) long, spread at an acute angle.
It is one of the most drought- and heat-tolerant species in the genus, occurring on dry, sunny hillsides at moderate elevations. It is closely related to Acer monspessulanum from further north and west in Europe, differing from it in being a smaller, often shrubby tree, and in its smaller, evergreen leaves.
Cultivation and uses
- Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9, June 2008 [and more or less continuously updated since]. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/.
- Med-Checklist: Acer sempervirens
- Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins. ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
- Mitchell, A. F. (1982). The Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins. ISBN 0-00-219037-0.
- Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
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