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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)

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median,
  • Under utility lines

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

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


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil,
  • Road salt

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

Seasons 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.

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.



Location of Acer truncatum (Shantung maple) at the Arboretum