Snake Bark Maple

Botanical Name: Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’ 

Alternate Name: Manchurian Snakebark Maple

The Snake Bark Maple or Manchurian Snakebark Maple, as it’s sometimes called, is a deciduous maple which grows to 35 feet tall and 25 feet wide. 

It is grown for its stunning and unusual bark, which covers the trunk and branches and seems to shimmer. The delicate bark is an olive green color. It has fine, vertical ridges that are adorned with thin, white, chalk-like stripes, with small horizontal cracks which develop calluses.

The white stripes of Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’ are particular to this cultivar, differentiating it from other snakebark maples.  In fact, this maple has the whitest bark of the snakebark maples. It can turn completely white on juvenile branches – due to a waxy covering – and sometimes on all branches in the winter months, creating a seasonal spectacle on the tree’s silhouette.

The leaves of the snakebark maple are a soft, mid-green. The leaves of ‘Joe Witt’ are the largest of the snakebark maples. They are heart-shaped, with 5 points. 

The pretty yellow-green flowers trail in small clusters in spring. The fruit do not contribute to this tree’s ornamental impact. The fall color is a pretty pale yellow.

Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’ should be cared for by planting the tree in sun or dappled shade to protect. In areas where there is a danger of frost damage on the trunk (vertical cracks) in winter, it should be planted in partial shade. It needs rich, well-drained soil and regular water. It is a very cold hardy tree.


Height: 35 ft.

Width: 25 ft.

Shape: Rounded/Vase-shaped

Flower Color: Yellow-Green

Flowering Time: March-April

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

Features: Bark display, Yellow fall color

Exposure: Sun to Dappled Shade

Watering: Moderate & Regular

Soil: Rich, well drained, even moisture

Growth Rate: Slow

USDA Zones: 4-8

Uses: Specimen/accent tree, understory in a woodland garden, Asian-themed gardens, PNW gardens, street tree, small gardens

Similar trees: Acer griseum