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Wide branches that sweep low to the ground and deeply furrowed, corky bark are among the charms of this densely branched shade tree. Though Miyabe’s maple is listed as endangered in its native habitat in Japan, several cultivars are considered hardy, adaptable urban street trees. The dark green leaves turn golden in fall.

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Maple)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium tree (25-40 feet), Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 30-60 feet
  • Mature width 20-50 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 Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Oval, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Commonly planted
  • Wildlife Birds, Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

This tree is found along river banks in its native range of Japan.

Bark color and texture:

Handsome corky bark developing vertical scales on this tree.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite) grow 3 to 5 inches long. Leaves are dark green with 5 lobes and turn pale golden yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are inconspicuous and grow in small clusters during spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras).

Plant care:

Avoid pruning maples in spring as they are ‘bleeders’ and will lose large amounts of sap. Do not plant in compacted soils.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

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

State Street® (Acer miyabei ‘Morton’):  

This cultivar grows 35 to 50 feet tall with a uniform oval to rounded shape.  It has shown excellent heat and drought tolerance,  as well as tolerance of alkaline soils. The thick, 5-lobed, attractive medium to dark green leaves remain long into fall, then rapidly change to a pale golden-yellow fall color.  The parent tree was selected from the collections at The Morton Arboretum.  A Chicagoland Grows® introduction.

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