Botanical Name: Acer leucoderme
Common Name: Chalk Maple, Whitebark Maple
Description: This is the loveliest as well as the rarest of East Texas and Louisiana’s native maples. It is the dominant maple in the Sabine National Forest and is the most numerous of the sugar maple complex in that area. Chalk maple averages only 12- 15′ tall and wide, although very old specimens can reach 20′. It can be grown as a single trunk or multi trunk tree with characteristic whitish to light gray bark. It has pendent, drooping leaves, much like those of Acer nigrum (black maple). Chalk maple leaves are a gray-green color underneath because of the velvety hairs. Blooms yellow drooping flowers in the spring, followed by reddish-brown samara (seed pods). Chalk Maple leaves puts on a glorious fall show of shimmering yellow to vivid orange and deep red show before dropping. Grows just fine in either rocky or sandy soils. Very drought tolerant once established. This slow-growing maple adds 12″ or less per year to its height.
This maple differs from other maples in that it likes to be in a part sun to shade area of your garden. Its natural habitat is as an understory tree in woodland settings. It doesn’t do well in full sun situations.
This tree is host plant for the Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Early spring source of nectar for bees. The seeds are eaten by birds, including Grosbeaks, Nuthatches Finches, and small mammals. Butterflies and other pollinating insects enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 3-4′ tall x 1-2′ wide.
Interesting Tidbit: Both the common name and the scientific name, meaning “white skin,” describe the smooth bark.
Hardiness Zones 5 – 8