134488 Nikko Maple Acer nikoense (Aceraceae) HEIGHT to 15m (20m). Broadly spreading deciduous tree. BARK Greyish-brown and smooth. BRANCHES Mainly level, with blackish buds that have grey hairs on scales. LEAVES Compound, with 3 leaflets, the central one up to 10cm long, the other 2 smaller and unequal at the base. They are mostly green and smooth on the upper surface, but bluish-white below with a covering of soft hairs. Leaves turn fiery red in autumn. REPRODUCTIVE PARTS Small yellow flowers, in pendulous clusters of 3, on hairy stalks, open at about same time as leaves. Green, winged fruits are about 5cm long, and wings spread widely, but seeds are rarely fertile or fully formed. STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION Native of Japan, and now popular here as an ornamental tree, mostly for its fine autumn colours.