TREES & plants

Shantung maple

The star-shaped leaves of Shantung maple.

Shantung maple, an Asian species, makes a good specimen or street tree. It is also small enough to use under power lines. The glossy foliage emerges with a reddish color and then changes to a dark green. In fall, the foliage takes on shades of yellow, orange, red and even some purple.

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


Botanical name: 
Acer truncatum
All Common Names: 
Shantung maple, purpleblow 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, 
  • Under utility lines
Landscape Uses: 
  • Parkway/street, 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen, 
  • Utility
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
Mature Height: 
20-25 feet
Mature Width: 
15-25 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: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Tolerant
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Fall color, 
  • Showy flowers
Season of Interest: 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Avoid pruning in early spring as maples are 'bleeders' and will lose large amounts of sap.

Disease, pests, and problems

Susceptible to verticillium wilt and anthracnose.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Fairly resistant to leaf scorch.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China, Japan and Korea.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is grayish with a hint of purple on young trees.  Older bark becomes ridged and furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); 3 to 5 inches long and wide.  Leaves have 5 to 7 triangular lobes, giving the leaf a star-shaped outline.
The dark green leaves emerge with a reddish cast that disappears before summer.  In fall, the leaves change to a mix of yellow, red and orange.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, pale yellow flowers in upright, rounded clusters.
Inconspicuous by themselves, but fairly showy when the whole tree is in flower.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras);  each wing is 1 to 1 1/2 inches long and the two wings are spread at a wide angle.

Cultivars and their differences

The cultivars presented here are hybrids resulting from crosses between Acer truncatum (Shantung maple) and Acer platanoides (Norway maple).

Crimson Sunset® maple (Acer truncatum x Acer platanoides 'JFS-KW202'):   A more heat and drought tolerant cultivar with purple summer foliage; grows 35 feet high and 25 feet wide.

Norwegian Sunset® maple (Acer truncatum x Acer platanoides 'Keithsform'):  This cultivar has a uniform structure and good heat tolerance.  Dark green foliage changes yellow-orange to red in fall.  Grows 35 feet high and 25 feet wide.

Pacific Sunset® maple (Acer truncatum x Acer platanoides 'Warrenred'): Dark, glossy green leaves change to yellow-orange and red in fall.  Finer branch texture than Norwegian Sunset®.  Grows 30 feet high and 25 feet wide.

Ruby Sunset® maple (Acer truncatum x Acer platanoides 'JFS-KW249):  Dark green, glossy foliage changes to deep red in fall.  More compact form, growing 25 feet high an 20 feet wide.



Acer truncatum or Shantung maple