Acer rufinerve - Redvein Maple
Family - Aceraceae
Size - Fifteen to eighteen feet in height with a comparable spread. Slow grower, approximately 1 foot per year, at best.
Foliage - Opposite, simple, 3 lobed, truncated, center lobe distinctly larger than the lateral lobes, doubly serrated on the margins, reddish down on the veins. Dark green above, pale green below. Fall color can be yellow orange/red. Fall color best in cooler climates. Have not seen good coloration in the south. Trees must be located in part shade and this affects the ability to color well.
Flower/Fruit/Seed - Fruit -- "samara," long and covered with a red brown pubescence. Flowers -- 3" long racemes, erect, pale green.
Bark - Supposedly one of the "snakebark" Maples, although I've never seen anything in the bark that would even hint of that. If so, it will take substantial age for it to show . New stems show an attractive silvery-gray. This species is very similar to A. pensylvanicum and ssp. grosseri, and appear to be closely allied. The silver-gray stems are one feature that set Redvein apart from pensylvanicum.
Pests and Diseases - Some leaf spots, more physiological response to heat than disease. No real problems.
Landscape Use - Very limited in this area (and most others) for 2 reasons. Is very limited in cultivation in the US, and it does not like the heat. For practical purposes, I wouldn't suggest growing it south of zone 6a, except for those areas above 2000 to 2500 feet in elevation. This limits it to the Appalachian range -- strictly where you'll find trees like A. pensylvanicum in the understory. Where one can acquire it and use it, it isn't really an overwhelmingly attractive tree in my opinion, it's more of a novelty. As for recommending it as an ornamental, it's too unpredictable for this area and too unavailable.
Performance - 4 If you are a collector and want to grow this tree be warned. In the South it absolutely will not tolerate our baking full sun heat and dry clay soils in the summer. It absolutely must have part shade, and cool, moist soil. Growing it in the nursery it never did well, I eventually had to move it to the shade house after I realized the summer sun was cooking it. Dirr rates it zone 5 to 7. It just doesn't have the heat tolerance in my opinion. I think it's a zone 5 to zone 6 tree, maybe zone 7 in a cool/humid zone 7 such as the Pacific Northwest, but not a warm humid zone 7 in the Southeast.