Acer komarovii

The widely-travelled Russian botanist Vladimir Leontevich Komarov found this species in the late 1800s in remote mountain forests of North Korea and eastern Manchuria. It is one of the most attractive but least known of the maples. 

Taking into account the severe climate of its native habitat it is not surprising that A. komarovii has thrived in southern Finland, too. Under a light canopy it quickly grows into a small tree several metres high, with branches growing at first upwards but then spreading outwards. The delicate leaves have a jewel-like symmetry. In autumn before they fall, they turn a wonderful red or yellow-orange. At the same time the previous summer’s branches and buds turn a bright red, visible from a distance in the winter landscape. 

There are several provenances thriving at Mustila. Obtaining them has been a complicated process, since the species is hardly grown in the west at all. One reason may be that the same plant is known, confusingly, by three different scientific names, the result of western botanists classifying the plants from Japan and Korean as two subspecies or forms of the same species; in Russia and Asia, however, the North Korean plant is considered a separate species.


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