Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum'

Commonly known as the sycamore 'Brilliantissimum', Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum' is a small deciduous tree noted for its bright pink emerging foliage. Entering cultivation in around 1905, it has since become a popular garden specimen. However its slow rate of growth does means that it is comparatively more expensive than other choice garden trees.

This slow growth rate has another downside in that when left to its own devices tends not to produce a straight stem. So in order to produce a larger plant quicker, and with the favoured straight stem, Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum' is usually propagated by top grafting.

Under favourable conditions it will produce a mounded campy and an approximately height and width of between 4-8 metres. In the spring the new growth opens up a bright shrimp pink, turning to a yellow-green as the foliage matures, finally ending up a dark green colour, mottled with cream.

Grow in a moist but well-drained soil in a sunny or partially shaded position. Avoid soils prone to waterlogging as this can cause significant roots problems. Deep shade will adversely affect the colour and size of the leaves.

Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum' can be prone to reverting back to the true species plain green leaves, and any stems that display this must be pruned out immediately. No other pruning is required other than to removed dead or diseased or errand stems.

Water regularly during period of drought during the first year following its planting and keep the base of the tree free of grass or garden plants for the following three years to reduce failure through competition.

Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum' has received the following awards from the Royal Horticultural Society, the Award of Merit in 1925, the First Class Certificate in 1977 and the Award of Garden Merit in 1984.

Image copyright Eaden Horticulture

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