Amur maple

Érable ginnala

Acer ginnala Maxim.Sapindaceae (soapberry family)

Origin: Asia


Amur maple is a small tree or tall shrub, usually with multiple stems and a rounded crown.

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Leaves are triangular, usually with a long central lobe flanked by two lobes at the base.

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Flowers are tiny, pale yellow or cream-coloured and fragrant, in clusters at the tips of branches.

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Fruits are pairs of pinkish winged seeds (samaras or keys). The wings' inner edges are nearly parallel.

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Amur maple is a tall shrub or small tree, reaching only about 4 - 6 m (13' - 20').

It usually has multiple stems (a dozen or more) and a rounded shape, but cultivated trees may be pruned for a desired outline and a single stem.

Bark is dark grey and scaly with orange fissures.

Twigs are yellowish-brown and hairless.

Buds are reddish-brown, about 3 mm (1/8") long.

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Leaves are triangular, usually with one long central lobe flanked by two small lobes at the base.

Leaves are 8 to 10 cm (3" - 4") long with toothed edges. The upper surface is dark green and glossy. The underside is paler.

Like other maples, the leaves have an opposite arrangement on the branch.

Leaves turn bright red in the fall.

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Pale yellow or cream-coloured fragrant flowers are borne at the tips of branches, in clusters 2.5 - 3.8 cm (1" - 1.5") across.

Flowers are tiny with prominent stamens.

Flowers appear in May or June, as the leaves expand.

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Like all maples, Amur maple fruits are pairs of winged seeds (called samaras or keys), 2 - 2.5 cm (up to 1") long.

The wings of the keys are pinkish, with inner edges that are nearly parallel.

Fruits mature in late summer (August) and may remain on the tree during winter.


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Amur maple is native to Japan and northeast China. It was introduced to North America around 1860 and is now widely planted as an ornamental tree. It has become naturalized in parts of southern Ontario.

Derivation of names

The genus name, Acer, is the classical name for maples. The species name, ginnala, comes from a local name for this tree in its native east Asian range. Amur is a region of Siberia.

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Amur maple IN TORONTO

Amur maple's place in Toronto's urban forest

Amur maple is most commonly found in formal settings, especially in private gardens, city parks, cemeteries and street containers. It occasionally escapes into ravines.

Landscape value and potential for home planting

Amur maple leaves and keys provide a bright and colourful display in the fall. It is a hardy tree that seems to have a higher tolerance for shade than other maple species. It grows well in a range of soils and growing conditions and can be easily shaped by pruning. There are several cultivars including a shrub form.

Pests and diseases: Amur maple is relatively free of pests and diseases, but can be affected by leaf spots, anthracnose, and Verticillum wilt. These problems may cause blotching, wilting, and death of leaves, but may not necessarily kill the entire tree.

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WHERE CAN I SEE Amur maple?

Links to maps at Canadian Tree Tours:

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