Common name: Montpelier Maple
Montpelier Maple is the southern Mediterranean relative of A. campestre and is very similar, with 3-lobed bright green leaves and small stature. Again, experience at the Waite Arboretum in Adelaide shows that A. monspessulanum is significantly more drought tolerant than A. campestre, and this tree has survived Adelaide’s dry climate remarkably well.
At the Waite Arboretum, they irrigate for the first 2 years only to properly establish the trees. After this time, no additional irrigation is applied. A. monspessulanum survives this treatment and grows into an oval-headed, 8m tree with no signs of drought stress at all. The foliage is vivid green, and does not have the milky sap that you can find with A. campestre.
A. monspessulanum fruits are plentiful and are normally very ornamental, turning bright red well before the foliage changes colour. With warm winter nights, it is unlikely that these seeds will germinate, unless stratification is undertaken, so Montpelier Maple doesn’t pose a significant weed hazard.
Montpelier Maple can be easily sheared or pruned to fit into difficult sites; in southern Europe, it is a common hedging plant. Bean identifies that this maple is very fine throughout Europe, as a hedging plant, when planted in groups, or as ‘isolated specimens’.
If the general appearance and size of A. campestre would suit your landscape, but you have very restricted irrigation, A. monspessulanum may be the tree that is best suited to your needs.
Bean, W.J. 1973 Trees & shrubs hardy in the British Isles, eighth edition, revised. John Murray Ltd, London. Vol. 1, p. 212.
Typical mature height: usually between 6-9m
Useful in: streetscapes, parks, reserves
Sites for best growth: tolerates many sites well