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Three-flowered maple

Leaves of 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 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)

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • Under utility lines

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Utility,
  • Specimen,
  • Shade tree,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • medium tree (25-40 feet),
  • Small tree (15-25 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 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Road salt

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

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color,
  • Persistent fruit/seeds,
  • Attractive bark

Seasons of Interest:

  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • Moderate

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

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

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.

Fall color of three-flowered maple.
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 yellow, 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.



Location of Acer triflorum (Three-flowered maple) at the Arboretum