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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
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
  • Under utility lines
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Specimen
  • Patio/sidewalk
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
Mature Height: 
20-30 feet
Mature Width: 
20-30 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Intolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Attractive bark
  • Persistent fruit/seeds
  • Fall color
Time of Year: 
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Upright
  • Oval
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Transplants Well: 
  • Moderate
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.