Classification, origin and diffusion
Opal Maple (or Italic Maple) is native to southern Europe, from Spain and France to the Balkans. In Italy it is present in the center-south, excluding Sardinia.
Opal Maple Flowers - Acer opalus Mill. (photo http://botanicavirtual.udl.es)
Opal Maple Fruits - Acer opalus Mill. (photo www.jtosti.com)
Size, trunk and bark
Tree up to 20 meters high, with dense and fairly globose crown. The trunk is straight, with gray-brown or reddish-gray rind, with opaque and chapped age.
Deciduous, opposite leaves, with long petiole, wide and long 6-18 x 5-14 cm, palmate-lobed with 5 lobes, serrated margin; the upper page is dark green and hairless, the lower one is more or less glabrous or tomentose.
The flowers, hermaphrodite and gathered in corimbiterminals and pendulums, develop before the leaves.
The fruits are hungry pendulums with wings spread at right angles.
The forest importance is very limited; little used as an ornamental essence.