The maples are a very large group. This post will bring to the gardener’s attention some with bark characteristics that provide year round interest for the garden, in addition to the regular seasonal changes provided by the foliage at the various seasons.
Acer capillipes is one of the stripe bark or snake bark maples. This species has larger goose foot shaped leaves in medium green and turn yellow in fall. The bark is always showy being a bright medium green with waxy thin stripes longitudinally on the stems, trunk. These are taller species from 20, 25 to 45 + ft. in time.
They appreciate well drained soil and like plenty of water, a moderately rich soil, and some protection from strong hot sun while a young sapling until the canopy of branches can shade the trunk. (otherwise it will sunburn and damage the tree trunk)
A. griseum is the paperbark maple. Here you will find leaves divided into three leaflets and bark peeling off in paperlike strips in a reddish brown. The tree can grow to 45 ft. in time.
There is a hybrid called ‘Cinnamon Flake’ and is a hybrid of A. griseum and A. mazimowiczianum and lighter reddish cinnamon colored bark. Same three parted leaflets.
A rubescens (formerly A. morrisonense) is another similar species with reddish young barked stems and older trunks striped in narrow white stripes.
A davidii, A. hersii grosseri are similar.
A. rufinerve from Japan has grayer bark still striped in white and in the cv. ‘Winter Gold’ turns school bus yellow in the cold temps of winter and is showy without a leaf or flower on it all winter.
A tegmentosum is one of the highly striped species and it’s variety ‘White Tigress’ is even more brilliant with its contrasting white stripes.
Several hybrids exist and vary the bark color combinations.
A. ‘Joe Witt’ has white barked twigs and few stripes.
A. ‘Serpentine’ is triped in white and with purple backround color.
A. conspicuum ‘Phoenix’ is very showy with brilliant bright red bark striped in sharp contrasting white.
There are others, all rare and difficult to locate, but choice.