Tree Profiles: Norway Maple Cultivars, Part 2

This is the second part of a series on Norway maple cultivars.


Norway maple is one of the most common trees in North America. It has an extended history on the continent, having been introduced as an ornamental plant to the United States in the early 20th century. While Norway maple is classified in several states as invasive, numerous cultivars have been derived from it over the past few decades. The following examines some of the most notable Norway maple varieties, including ‘Deborah’, ‘Drummondii’, and ‘Emerald Lustre’.

‘Deborah’ is a medium to large sized cultivar, growing 50 to 60 feet tall, with a 30 to 50 foot spread. It is renown for its new leaves, which are colored red. Through spring and summer, the leaves turn a deep maroon, before finally transitioning to a dark green. Their fall color is yellow, orange, or bronze. The leaves are simple and lobed, with a star-like shape. They have a distinct wrinkled appearance, with undulating or crinked margins. Greenish-yellow flowers appear on the branches in spring. It has an ovate to rounded habit, with a dense canopy. Its root system is shallow, allowing it to compete with and dominate wild grasses and weeds. It can be used as a large bonsai specimen. It is drought tolerant, and resistant to pollution, making it an ideal street tree. Various birds and rodents use the seeds as a food source.

‘Drummondii’, also referred to as ‘Harlequin’, is a medium sized cultivar that grows 40 to 50 tall, with a 30 to 40 foot spread. It grows at a medium rate. It is one of the more colorful Norway maple varieties. Its leaves are variegated, with a vibrant light green center, and bold white edging. Appealing yellow corymbs form on the branches in spring. It has a rounded form, and establishes a dense crown. This variety requires consistent pruning to maintain its branch structure. It requires planting in sites exposed to full sunlight to thrive. ‘Drummondii’ has a shallow root system, which enables it to dominate weeds and wild grasses. Numerous birds and rodents feast on the seeds. This cultivar makes for an ideal bonsai specimen. It is resistant to salt, drought, and pollution, making it well suited for planting near roadsides.

‘Emerald Lustre’, also called ‘Pond’, is medium sized cultivar, growing heights of 40 to 60 feet, with a 40 to 50 foot spread. It grows at a medium rate. Under ideal conditions, it can live for over 100 years. It assumes a broadly ovate form, with a dense canopy. Greenish-yellow corymbs blanket the branches in spring. The foliage is tinged red when it first appears, before turning a glossy, deep green. The leaves turn bright yellow in fall. The leaves are simple, lobed, and star-shaped. They have wavy margins. ‘Emerald Lustre’ is tolerant of harsh environmental conditions, exhibiting resistance to salt, drought, and pollution. As such, it is an ideal selection for planting in cities, and along roadways. It requires full sun to flourish. Birds and rodents consume the seeds. This cultivar is an excellent specimen for bonsai

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Photo courtesy of Acabashi CC-by-4.0