Acer griseum – Paperbark Maple

Botanical Name: Acer griseum

Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple) is native to central China and is found growing in mixed evergreen and deciduous forests. E.H Wilson brought this tree from China to England in 1899.  It was introduced to the U.S. shortly thereafter by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

The Paperbark Maple is an easy to grow, small, deciduous maple. Its main feature is its beautiful, peeling, cinnamon-colored bark. Its foliage is also striking, with its dark green, trifoliate leaves between 3 and 5 inches long. The leaves have white undersides, which turn bright orange or red in the fall. Its botanical name ‘Griseum’ means gray, referring to the color of the leaf undersides.

The exfoliating bark that stays curled on the trunk and branches is such an attractive, eye-catching feature that it should be featured as a specimen tree in gardens. It can also be planted as a foundation tree – planted close to a home to fully appreciate its fall and winter charms.

The Paperbark Maple’s flowers are insignificant, but they are followed by noticeable samara’s up to 1/4 inches long.

The Paperbark Maple is ideal for shading outdoor living spaces, such as patios or decks or as a front yard accent or street tree. This desirable tree works well in wilder, wildlife gardens and in wetland conditions. It is hard to propagate, with only 5% of its seed viable. The Paperbark Maple has no serious insect or disease problems.


Height: 20-30 ft.
Width: 15-25 ft.
Shape: Rounded/Oval
Flower Color: Green
Flowering Time: April
Fall Color: Red
Features: Fall color and winter bark display
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Watering: Moderate & Regular, intolerant of drought
Soil: Tolerates clay, but prefers moist, slightly acidic, well drained soil
Growth Rate: Slow
USDA Zones: 6-8
Uses: Shade tree, street tree, specimen/accent tree, foundation tree, understory tree in a woodland garden

Additional information


Oval, Rounded

Flower Color


Flowering Time


Fall Color


Growth Rate


USDA Zones

6, 7, 8

Mature Height


Mature Width



Full Sun, Partial Shade

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