TREES & plants

Three-flowered maple

The shaggy peeling bark and glorious yellow, orange, and red fall foliage make up for the inconspicuous nature of this ornamental tree's namesake flowers. 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 (seasonally loses leaves)
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.