Plants - Trees and Shrubs

7 trees with beautiful bark

Plant a tree with colourful, textured bark to brighten dreary winter days.


Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)

Its cinnamon-coloured, exfoliating bark makes the paperbark maple one of the best plants for year-round interest. Even the bark of young saplings peels, while on more mature trees it becomes rougher and takes on a deeper, richer shade that looks striking in winter against snow.

Undemanding and slow-growing, the paperbark maple is an excellent specimen for the home garden. Reaching a mature height of seven to 10 metres with a width of five to seven metres, it fits well in most landscapes. The dark green, trifoliate leaves give this maple a finer texture than most of its relatives, and fall brings a deep russet flush to the foliage.

Paperbark maple grows well in sun or part shade and makes a good understorey tree. It thrives in a variety of moist, well-drained soils, including clay, but does not tolerate drought. When selecting a tree, bear in mind that specimens vary greatly, so choose one with a good amount of colourful, peeling bark. This native of central China is hardy to Zone 5.

Paperbark cherry (Prunus serrula)
Height 6 to 9 m Spread 6 m Location sun; moist, moderately fertile, well-drained soil Cultivation easy to grow flowers white in mid-spring bark glistening mahogany red; smooth, peels with age Foliage yellow in fall Zone 6

Lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana)
Height 10 to 15 m Spread 6 to 11 m Location full sun; moist, acidic, well-drained soil Cultivation slow-growing conifer; easy to grow bark exfoliates in patches to reveal underbark colours of white, silver, olive, light purple and brown; mature outer layers are milky white Zone 5b

Striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum)
Height 12 m Spread 10 m Location full sun to part shade; moist, acidic, well-drained, sandy to clay-like soil Cultivation slow-growing; dislikes being moved bark medium green with white stripes when young, maturing to green and reddish brown traced with silver Foliage yellow in fall Zone 2b

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), Zone 5b

Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia), Zone 5

Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia), Zone 5b

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