My favorite maple (AA#124-67) at the Arnold Arboretum
Once Acer maximowiczianum x griseum now Acer maximowiczianum
An Acer griseum specimen at the Arnold Arboretum
Acer griseum x 'Gingerbread' in my garden
On Sunday, I took a drawing class at the Eliot School in Jamaica Plain, MA. The class started at 1:30 PM and that gave me an opportunity to visit the Arnold Arboretum which is located about three blocks away from the school. I spent many hours in the late 90's searching for and studying interesting trees and shrubs that I hoped to use in my garden. One of the most beautiful trees that I discovered was called Acer maximowiczianum x griseum, hybrid of the paperbark and nikko maples. In June, 1998, I made a note in my garden journal describing this tree, accession #124-67, which was acquired by the Arboretum, as a seed, in 1967. Several months later, I found a cross of these two maples, a cultivar called Acer griseum x 'Gingerbread' and planted it in my garden near the terrace.
I was surprised, when I located the tree again on Sunday, to see it labeled as a pure nikko maple, Acer maximowiczianum. When I returned home, I confirmed that this was indeed my beloved tree but with a new name. Monday, I called the Arnold Arboretum and the puzzle was solved by Kyle Port, the Plant Records Manager. After conferring with Arboretum Curator, Kyle reported that "AA#124-67, has been determined to be Acer maximowiczianum by three different researchers/plantsmen in 1986, 1987, 1999. That said, one individual in 1988 applied the hybrid name A. maximowiczianum x griseum. The weighted evidence suggests the current name (A. maximowiczianum) applied to the Acer in question is correct. Determinations are ultimately hypotheses so perhaps the name applied to the Acer in question will change yet again!?"
Mystery solved. But for me, that tree will always be Acer maximowiczianum x griseum.