The Amur Maackia (Maackia amurensis) is native to Japan and the northeast Asian mainland. It was introduced in the United States in the end of the 19th century. Still relatively rare, it is gradually becoming a popular street tree because of its stress tolerance and ability to grow in difficult soil conditions. The compound leaves in the spring emerge covered with silky hairs that give the tree a silvery appearance. Cream-colored upright clusters of flowers appear in June. Coppery-bronze bark exfoliates on mature trees. Resembles Kentucky Yellow wood but its peeling orange bark and upright flower spikes distinguish it. Its wood is hard, resistant to decay and is used in China to make furniture and veneers. This genus was named after the Russian naturalist and explorer, Richard Karlovich Maak (1825 – 1886); the specific epithet refers to the Amur region in China.
Common name: Amur Maackia, Manchurian Maackia
Scientific Name (family and order): Maackia amurensis Ruprecht & Maximowicz (Fabales, Fabaceae)
Species Origin: Japan, Korea, Eastern Russia
New Jersey Status: USDA Unreported
Habit: Small deciduous tree; up to 40’ high.
Habitat: Zone 4 – 7. Mountain forests, riverbanks.
Trunk/Stem: Peeling orange bark; twig grayish
Leaves: Deciduous, Pinnate Compound, Alternate. Leaves 10” long x 6” wide with 7 – 11 broad oval leaflets each leaflet 2 ½ “ long; pinnate with a single terminal leaflet (imparipinnate); ovate-elliptical, margins entire, apex acute. Leaflets are glabrous but when they emerge they bear silvery gray hairs; with time they become dark green above, paler below and glabrous.
Flowers: Perfect. Upright on stiff erect racemes (or racemose panicles) of small pea-like flowers, dull greenish white in 5” long spikes. Blooms June – July. Flowers fragrant (redolent of new mown grass or alfalfa). Individual flowers perfect and papilionaceous; its single standard (petal) is obovate cuneate and notched; the two wings are elliptic-oblong,
Fruits and seeds: Fruits are flat, dark brown tapered 2 ¼” long pods, scattered along a stiff fruiting shoot.