A deciduous or partially evergreen tree up to 30 ft high, usually smaller; young shoots glabrous, slender, pink at first, then yellowish-green. Leaves narrowly oblong to lanceolate, slender-pointed, tapered or rounded at the base, mostly entire on adult trees, often more or less toothed on young ones; 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide; glabrous, pink when quite young, becoming light green on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄3 in. long. Flower-panicles red, 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, 1 to 11⁄4 in. wide, glabrous, produced on short leafy shoots. Wings of fruit red, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide, rounded at the end, spreading at right (or wider) angles; nutlet egg-shaped to spherical, 1⁄6 in. long.
Native of Hupeh and Szechwan, China; introduced to the Coombe Wood nursery by Wilson in 1902. It is worth growing for the charming red young twigs and leaves. It is related to A. oblongum, but that species is well distinguished by its downy flower-stalks and the leaves being glaucous beneath. A. fargesii is on the tender side and best suited in the milder counties. Lord Rosse, who grows it at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Eire, finds it is always cut by ten degrees of frost.
A. laevigatum, with which Farges’ maple has been associated as a variety, is a tender Himalayan as well as Chinese species. It belongs, like the others, to the group with narrow, mostly entire leaves that are red when young, but it differs from A. fargesii in its larger, distinctly net-veined leaves. A. oblongum is readily distinguished from both by the leaves being three-veined at the base. There is an example 28 × 13⁄4 ft at Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire (1966).