Amur maple (Not recommended)

Leaves of Amur maple.

Amur maple has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This tree is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting this tree for planting sites. One tree can produce more than 5,000 two-winged seeds that are widely spread by wind. In open woods, Amur maple displaces native shrubs and understory trees. In prairies and open fields, it can shade out native species of plants, disrupting the ecosystems that plants and animals depend on.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Acer ginnala

All Common Names:

Amur maple

Family (English):

Soapberry (formerly Maple)

Family (Botanic):

Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub,
  • Tree

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet),
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

Mature Height:

15-18 feet

Mature Width:

15-18 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Commonly planted

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color,
  • Fragrant flowers,
  • Showy fruit,
  • Attractive bark

Season of Interest:

  • Early spring,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

Wildlife:

  • Insect pollinators

More Information:

Disease, pests, and problems

This tree is becoming a problem in the Midwest where it displaces native shrubs and understory trees. It is not recommended for planting.

One tree can produce more than 5,000 two-winged seeds that are widely spread by wind. In open woods, it displaces native shrubs and understory trees. In prairies and open fields, it can shade out native species.  Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential problem for maples.

Bark color and texture

Gray brown, smooth on young branches;  slightly striped or fissured with age.

Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); 2 to 4 inches long.
Dark green leaves with three lobes and a toothed edge.
Fall color is orange, red and yellow.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Creamy white, fragrant flowers in small clusters.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras).

Cultivars and their differences

Beethovan™ Amur maple (Acer ginnala 'Betzam'):  This cultivar has a narrow, columnar habit; yellow-red fall color and red fruit.

Flame Amur maple (Aer ginnala 'Flame'):  Red fruit and flame-red fall color.

Location of Acer ginnala (Amur maple (Not recommended)) at the Arboretum