fbpx Cut-leaved stephanadra | The Morton Arboretum

Cut-leaved stephanadra

Foliage of stephanandra, cultivar 'Crispa'.

Stephanandra is a small to medium-sized shrub forming large thickets. This graceful shrub has long arching stems, and is often grown for the maple-like leaves which turn a stunning orange-red fall color. Very nice for woodland gardens and mixed borders.

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


Botanical name:

Stephanandra incisa

All Common Names:

Stephanandra, cut-leaved stephanandra, cutleaf stephanandra, lace shrub

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 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

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Fall color

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Mounded,
  • Thicket-forming

More Information:


A dense, thicket-forming shrub reaching 4 to 7 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Does best in loose, well-drained soils that have been supplemented with organic matter. Water in dry periods.
Prune after flowering by cutting back shoots to strong buds. On older, over grown plants, cut one-third of oldest stems to the ground.
Stems root wherever they touch the ground, so separate them in autumn, winter, or early spring to make new plants.

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious

Native geographic location and habitat

Japan and Korea
Grows on mountain slopes, or by stream banks

Bark color and texture 


Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, 1 to 2 inch long, maple-like leaves with toothed, wavy margins.
New leaves emerge with a reddish tinge, changing to bright green.
Fall color is a reddish-purple to red-orange

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, star-shaped, white flowers borne in clusters at tips of branches

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Dried follicle, not showy

Cultivars and their differences 

Crispa Cutleaf Stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa 'Crispa'): A low-growing, densely branched, deciduous shrub which typically grows 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.  Small, maple-like leaves unfold reddish-bronze turning green for summer. Use as a ground cover, low hedge or foundation plant. Also effective for erosion control on banks and slopes.

Location of Stephanandra incisa (Cut-leaved stephanadra) at the Arboretum