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Acer japonicum 'Acontifolium': 'Acontifolium' Fullmoon Maple

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, and Deborah R. Hilbert


Full moon maple is a small, deciduous tree which reaches 10 to 15 feet in height and width, creating an irregular, rounded silhouette. It fits well into the oriental garden due to the exotic silhouette. This cultivar is exceptionally cold hardy, having survived temperatures of -25°F below zero. The deeply divided, soft green leaves have 9 to 11 lobes and are delicately displayed on thin, drooping branches. Leaves take on a beautiful yellow to red coloration in the fall before dropping, making this small, dense plant really stand out in the landscape. Fall color has been described as exceptional. The hanging clusters of purple/red flowers appear in late spring and are followed by the production of winged seeds.

Young Acer japonicum 'Acontifolium': 'Acontifolium' fullmoon maple.
Figure 1. Young Acer japonicum 'Acontifolium': 'Acontifolium' fullmoon maple.
Credit: UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Acer japonicum

Pronunciation: AY-ser juh-PAWN-ih-kum

Common name(s): 'Acontifolium' Fullmoon maple, fernleaf maple

Family: Aceraceae

USDA hardiness zones: 5A through 7B (Figure 2)

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not assessed/incomplete assessment

Uses: specimen; deck or patio; container or planter; trained as a standard; Bonsai

Figure 2. Range.
Credit: UF/IFAS


Height: 10 to 15 feet

Spread: 6 to 10 feet

Crown uniformity: symmetrical

Crown shape: vase, round

Crown density: moderate

Growth rate: slow

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite (Figure 3)

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: parted, incised, lobed

Leaf shape: star-shaped

Leaf venation: palmate

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: red

Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Credit: UF/IFAS


Flower color: red

Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: elongated, oval

Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch

Fruit covering: dry or hard

Fruit color: green

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns

Pruning requirement: little required

Breakage: resistant

Current year twig color: green

Current year twig thickness: thin, medium

Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: partial sun or partial shade, shade tolerant

Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained

Drought tolerance: moderate

Aerosol salt tolerance: none


Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: no

Outstanding tree: yes

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible

Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

This maple would be at home in the residential landscape as well as the commercial setting. Planted near the patio or deck, it would generate many comments from friends and other visitors. It is probably best used as a specimen, planted to attract attention to an area. It should live for at least 20 years. Nice specimens can be viewed at arboreta, but few nurseries currently offer this cultivar for sale. This may change as nursery operators and homeowners discover the tree.

Fullmoon maple should be grown in full sun or partial shade. Where the sunlight is intense, the tree will benefit from having its roots shaded to help keep the soil cool.


No pests are of major concern.


This maple is susceptible to verticillium wilt.

Publication #ENH-177

Release Date:February 12, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is ENH-177, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006 and November 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus, Department of Environmental Horticulture; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture, Department of Environmental Horticulture; and Deborah R. Hilbert, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Michael Andreu
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