Maackia amurensis ‘Starburst’
The ‘Starburst’ Amur Maackia is an uncommon small deciduous flowering tree in the bean family. It grows with a round-headed habit to about 25′ high. Its flowers are similar to those of the common pea, but displayed in dense racemes that contract nicely with the bright green foliage. Normally, members of this species require little maintenance, pruning and training to result in a tree of attractive shape. This species also blooms in a summer season when few other species of trees bloom, offering a splash of color to the landscape and garden. More interesting than the summer flowers are the unfolding buds in spring, which appear silvery and showy like flowers with frost on them.
It occurs in northeastern China, Korea, and Russia. It is named for Karlovich Maack, a 19th-century Siberian explorer who discovered the tree in the Amur River region on the Siberian Chinese border.
Emerging compound leaves are grayish green, later becoming dark green. The fruit is a 2-3″ flat brown pod. Plant Patent PP10,557 was granted to William Flemer III of Princeton Nurseries in 1998 for this variety. The tree is characterized by its straight trunk with attractive peeling coppery bark, exceptionally vigorous growth and its very large showy and abundant white panicles of flowers, born upright in closely clustered panicles at the ends of thick twigs. William Flemer III’s patent notes describe “flowers -panicles larger (8-10cm) composed of 100-190 florets, more showy in flower than species. (US Patent #10557 on 8/18/98 to William Flemer III, Newplant Assoc.)