Miyabe's maple

Early fall color of miyabe's maple.

Wide branches that sweep low to the ground and deeply furrowed, corky bark are among the charms of this densely branched shade tree. Though Miyabe’s maple is listed as endangered in its native habitat in Japan, several cultivars are considered hardy, adaptable urban street trees. The dark green leaves turn golden in fall. 

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

Botanical name:

Acer miyabei

All Common Names:

Miyabe's maple, Miyabe maple

Family (English):

Soapberry (formerly Maple)

Family (Botanic):

Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet),
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

Mature Height:

30-60 feet

Mature Width:

20-50 feet

Light Exposure:

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

Hardiness Zones:

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

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Prefers

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Commonly planted

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color

Season of Interest:

  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Birds,
  • Insect pollinators

More Information:

Miyabe's maple (Acer miyabei)
Miyabe's maple (Acer miyabei)
photo: John Hagstrom

Tree & Plant Care

Avoid pruning maples in spring as they are 'bleeders' and will lose large amounts of sap.
Do not plant in compacted soils.

Disease, pests, and problems

Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential problem for maples.

Native geographic location and habitat

Found along river banks in its native range (Japan).

Bark color and texture 

Handsome corky bark developing vertical scales.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); 3 to 5 inches long.
Leaves dark green with 5 lobes; pale golden yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous flowers in small clusters in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras).

Cultivars and their differences 

State Street® (Acer miyabei ‘Morton’):  Grows  35 to 50 feet tall with a uniform, oval to rounded shape.  It has shown excellent heat and drought tolerance,  as well as tolerance of alkaline soils.  The thick, 5-lobed, attractive medium to dark green leaves remain long into fall, then rapidly change to a pale golden-yellow fall color.  The parent tree was selected from the collections at The Morton Arboretum.  A Chicagoland Grows® introduction.

Location of Acer miyabei (Miyabe's maple) at the Arboretum