The field maple (Acer Campestre) is our only native maple. It has distinctive glossy, dark green, five lobed leaves with rounded points. The field maple commonly goes unnoticed as part of a trimmed hedgerow, however, if left to grow on it makes an excellent hedgerow or woodland standard. It has flowers in spring, produces winged fruits and has a beautiful golden autumn colour. It grows to around 20m high and lives for up to 350 years or so. It is also of value to wildlife with around 51 insects and mites, and 93 lichens depending on it for all or part of their life cycle.

The field maple is often overlooked and literally over shadowed by the oak and ash, or the more recently introduced sycamore which is thought to have been brought by the Romans. However, is a compact, medium size tree with much to recommend it. Its hard, dense timber also makes it prized for wood turning and carving, and for making musical instruments, including harps.

Illustration by Joanna Uglow