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TREES & plants

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
Foliage: 
  • 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
Wildlife: 
  • 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.

Acer miyabei or Miyabe's maple