Acer sempervirans

Cretan maple                                                                             Κρητικό σφεντάμο

Sapindaceae - maple family                                                                               Dicot.


The Cretan maple, Acer sempervirans,is most recogniseable in late summer and early autumn when the delicate winged seeds, the spinning jennies, become bright red, creating a mark contrast to the deep green, glossy, trilobate leaves. Generally growing as a shrub in macchie and hedgerow, Cretan maple, sometimes grows as small isolated trees, which are tolerant of hot, dry, sunny sites. A particularly interesting, ancient specimen, with hollow trunk, can be found near the monastery of Ag. Efstathios, below Sendoukia.

The plant is endemic to the Eastern Mediterranean and is closely related to the Montpellier maple, which has a more northerley and westerley distribution. Unlike most maples, the Cretan maple is evergreen.

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sempervirens derives from latin semper  = always and virens = green