Rare in the wild, and very noteworthy as a garden tree, Acer griseum is most especially valued for its copiously peeling coppery-brown bark. The flowers are not especially showy, appearing in small yellow-green pendent clusters in spring. However, the leaves which are sub-divided into three leaflets, a typical characteristic of Acers, and mid-green and downy-whitish beneath, turn a brilliant red and orange in autumn.
Plant in any fertile soil, including both chalk and clay soils, that is neither very wet or very dry, and over a few years Acer griseum will grow into a very fine specimen tree, roughly twice the height of its width, so a gently spreading habit - keep this in mind when choosing a planting position.
Acer griseum does not produce a central leader and instead forms a multi-branched crown from low down, hence forming a rounded shape. Ultimately, in perhaps 50 years Acer griseum can reach 10m in height and perhaps 5m in width. A spot in full sun, perhaps with shelter from very cold northerly winds would be best, and this means at least six hours of full sunshine a day in the summer time.
Acer griseum was first introduced into the United Kingdom by Ernest Wilson in 1901 who collected seeds from its native range in central China. The great majority of trees found in UK horticulture today derive from the relatively small number of seedlings raised from this original source, which may explain the relative uniformity of the specimens offered for sale.
Although Acer griseum appears to produce vast quantities of two winged seeds, the great majority of these are sterile - perhaps this explains the limited populations in the wild - indeed Acer griseum is considered a threatened species in the wild, placing a particular value on individuals grown in British gardens.