Fullmoon maple is very similar in appearance to the true Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). It varies in size by cultivar and can be a large shrub or a small tree. The divided foliage, small, dangling purple flowers and fall color make this a multi-season tree.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Residential and parks
- Medium tree (25-40 feet),
- Small tree (15-25 feet),
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Fall color
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Late spring,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect pollinators
Tree & Plant Care
Do not prune maples in spring as they are 'bleeders'.
Avoid very hot, dry sites. Avoid windy sites in winter.
Disease, pests, and problems
Frost damage can occur to leaves as they emerge in spring.
Verticillium wilt is a potential problems for maples.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Japan, China and Korea. This is an understory species.
Bark color and texture
On the main trunk, the bark is smooth gray. The twigs are green or red and shiny.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Leaves in pairs (opposite), simple, rounded in outline with 7 to 11 lobes, 3-6 inches wide and long. Leaf margins are irregularly toothed.
Leaves are medium green in summer, changing to red and yellow in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Flowers are small and reddish purple. Not very showy.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Fruits are pairs of winged seeds (samaras), often tinged with red or purple.
Cultivars and their differences
Grape-leaved fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum 'Vitifolium'): Foliage resembles grape leaves; fall color is red, orange and yellow; 20 feet high.
Green cascade fullmoon maple (Acer japonicum 'Green Cascade'): A shrub-like cultivar (6 feet high) with a weeping form and deeply dissected green leaves that turn red in fall.