Acer opalus
Acer opalus leaves 01 by Line1.JPG
Italian maple leaves in autumn
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Section: Acer sect. Acer
Series: Acer ser. Monspessulana
A. opalus
Binomial name
Acer opalus
Mill. 1768[1]
  • Acer hispanicum Pourr
  • Acer italum Lauth
  • Acer leptopterum Guss. Ex Nyman
  • Acer montanum Carradori ex Lam.
  • Acer opulifolium Chaix
  • Acer rotundifolium Lam.
  • Acer rupicolum Chabert
  • Acer sabaudum Chabert, name published without description

Acer opalus, the Italian maple, is a species of maple native to the hills and mountains of southern and western Europe, from Italy to Spain and north to southern Germany, and also in northwest Africa in Morocco and Algeria.[3][4][5]


Acer opalus is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter. The leaves are glossy green, 7–13 centimetres (2.8–5.1 in) long and 5–16 centimetres (2.0–6.3 in) across, palmately lobed with blunt teeth. They turn yellow in autumn.

The bark is grey and pinkish. It peels in square plates. It has small yellow flowers that open before the leaves appear. The fruit is a pair of winged samaras, each seed up to 1 centimetre (0.39 in) in diameter with a 1.5–2.5 centimetres (0.59–0.98 in) wing.[4]


Acer opalus trees with shallowly lobed leaves are sometimes separated as a distinct subspecies Acer opalus subsp. obtusatum. The subspecies was originally described as a separate species in 1806 but was reduced to subspecies status by 1925[6] However the characteristics are not always constant, so no subspecies are recognized by the Flora Europaea.[3][4] Two other subspecies have occasionally been recognized, Acer opalus subsp. hispanicus ranging from Spain to the Caucasus Mountains, and Acer opalus subsp. opalus ranging through France, Switzerland, Corsica, and Italy down to some parts of North Africa.[6]


  1. ^ The International Plant Names Index
  2. ^ The Plant List, Acer opalus Mill.
  3. ^ a b Flora Europaea: Acer opalus
  4. ^ a b c Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins. ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  5. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Acer opalus Mill.
  6. ^ a b Moore, D.; White, J. (2005) [1st pub. 2002]. "Maples". The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees (2nd ed.). Portland, Oregon: Timber press. p. 627. ISBN 0-88192-751-1.

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