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Publication #ENH-216

Acer triflorum: Three-Flowered Maple1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


Three-flowered maple slowly grows to a height of 20 to 25 feet with an equal width, and the dense, rounded canopy casting dense shade below. The 1.5- to 3.5-inch-long, compound leaves are slightly hairy and turn attractive shades of orange and red in the fall before dropping. True to its name, three-flowered maple produces three greenish-yellow flowers clustered together in springtime and these are followed by 1- to 1.5-inch-long winged seeds, which persist on the tree. The red/brown bark is quite attractive and peels off in long, thin strips.

Figure 1. 

Young Acer triflorum: Three-Flowered Maple

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Acer triflorum
Pronunciation: AY-ser try-FLOR-um
Common name(s): Three-flowered maple
Family: Aceraceae
USDA hardiness zones: 3B through 7B (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: container or planter; trained as a standard; street without sidewalk; deck or patio; screen; specimen; tree lawn 3–4 feet wide; tree lawn 4–6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft. wide
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 15 to 25 feet
Spread: 15 to 25 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: round, spreading
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: trifoliate, odd-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: oblong, lanceolate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: orange, yellow, red
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Flower color: green, yellow
Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: elongated
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: green, tan
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; very showy; can be trained to one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: thin, medium
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: partial sun or partial shade, shade tolerant
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; slightly alkaline; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

This handsome tree is well suited for use as a specimen planted in the lawn or in a low ground cover. The showy bark and fine texture combine to generate a striking display during the growing season. It provides interest in the winter when branches are bare to show the darkened bark, which contrasts nicely against snow.

Three-flowered maple grows best in full sun or partial shade on well drained soil. Due to its shallow root system, three-flowered maple will not tolerate soil compaction. It does not tolerate soil that remains wet for periods of time.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.



This document is ENH-216, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.