Content Detail

Unlike other maples, the Nikko maple does not have the traditional “maple” leaf. Each leaf is divided into three leaflets. The leaves turn to shades of red and orange in autumn, giving this medium-sized tree some late-season interest.

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Maple)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • 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 30-45 feet
  • Mature width 30-45 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Oval
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Size and form:

A mature Nikko maple is typically 30 to 45 feet tall and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Japan and China.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Insect pollinators are attracted to Nikko maple.

Bark color and texture:

The gray bark is smooth.

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

The leaves consist of three leaflets on a short, hairy stalk. The leaves are 2 to 5 inches long and have an opposite arrangement along the branch. Summer leaves are dark green, changing to a mix of red, yellow, and burgundy in fall. Fall color isn’t consistent from year to year.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are held in small drooping clusters and aren’t ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The fruit are winged seeds in pairs or samaras. The seedlings are seldom a problem as most of the seed produced is not viable.

Plant care:

Avoid pruning maples in spring as they are ‘bleeders’ and will lose large amounts of sap.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Verticillium wilt, a fungus, is a potential problem for maples.


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