TREES & plants

Three-flowered maple

The three flowers that give this small ornamental tree its name are inconspicuous, but the shaggy peeling bark and glorious yellow, orange and red fall foliage make up for it. Three-flowered maple tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and is a fine specimen tree for gardens, with a habit that can be upright or spreading.   


Botanical name: 
Acer triflorum
All Common Names: 
Three-flowered maple, shaggy-barked maple, Three Flower maple,Three-flower maple, threeflowered maple
Family (English): 
Soapberry (formerly Maple)
Family (Botanic): 
Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
  • Upright
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Specimen
  • Patio/sidewalk
Time of Year: 
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
More Information: 

Size and Form

20 to 25 feet high and wide; upright or spreading shape

Tree & Plant Care

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

Disease, pests and problems

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

Disease, pest and problem resistance

This tree is tolerant in a wide range of soils.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Northeastern Asia

Bark color and texture 

The light brown bark exfoliates in vertical strips to show golden-brown inner bark.  This provides an interesting winter feature.

Three-flowered maple (Acer triflorum)Three-flowered maple (Acer triflorum)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves arranged in pairs (opposite), each leaf with three leaflets; margins irregularly toothed
Foliage is dark green in summer, turning brilliant orange and red in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Greenish-yellow flowers appear in April in clusters of three, hence the species and common names.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras);  1 inch long and fuzzy.