Skip to main content

Acer platanoides, more commonly known as Norway maple.Marjorie Harris/The Globe and Mail

Acer platanoides, more commonly known as Norway maple, is an exotic alien species of gargantuan proportions, one that our ancestors planted ad nauseam a century ago. Most plantoholics are not fans: Norway maples spread everywhere, overwhelming our native maples. And for anyone who has been sweeping up maple keys for the past few weeks, resentment about how prolific they are runs deep.

But seeing 'Golden Globe' is a big surprise. The dwarf Norway maple has all the tenacity of the species, with the delicacy and fascination of a dwarf Japanese maple.

It's a particularly elegant option for cold-area gardens, where Japanese maples won't grow – and you can never have too many of them, whether they're in containers, up against fences or used in beds as a focal point. Their colour in spring and autumn is nonpareil and they're tough enough to handle crummy weather (which we have in abundance).

Like some Japanese maples, the 'Golden Globe' unfurls with leaves of palest pink, which then morph into spring gold. It's foliage is green and yellow during the summer, then gilds in the fall.

All it needs to flourish is the usual tree-planting method: a hole that's as deep as the root system and twice as wide. Well-drained soil, as always, will help the tree thrive; to ensure the leaves produce their best colour, plant it in full sun (that's six hours per day).

Its flowers are almost unnoticeable, but a sweet scent will waft about and, best of all, it is a sterile plant. This means it doesn't have seeds to send everywhere in its ruthless drive to take over. No seed production, no endless cleaning up.

This plant is reportedly a dwarf mutation from 'Princeton Gold,' a European find and extremely rare in North America at the moment. But once demand grows, more American nurseries will produce it.

I spotted it at Whistling Gardens, a private botanical garden, a knockout destination for viewing rare evergreens and unusual plants of every species.

Get Acer platanoides 'Golden Globe' at garden centres such as Whistling Gardens in Wilsonville, Ont., where a standard of any size costs $169.99.