Acer truncatum Bunge

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Dan Crowley (2020)

Recommended citation
Crowley, D. (2020), 'Acer truncatum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-06-18.


  • Acer
  • Sect. Platanoidea

Common Names

  • Shantung Maple
  • Purpleblow Maple


  • Acer cappadocicum Gled. subsp. truncatum (Bunge) E. Murray
  • Acer laetum C.A. Meyer var. truncatum (Bunge) Regel
  • Acer lobelii Tenore subsp. truncatum (Bunge) Wesmael
  • Acer lobulatum Nakai
  • Acer pictum var. truncatum (Bunge) Chin S. Chang
  • Acer truncatum var. acuminatum X.M. Liu
  • Acer truncatum f. barbinerve (Nakai) M. Kim
  • Acer truncatum var. barbinerve Nakai
  • Acer truncatum var. beipiao S.L. Tung
  • Acer truncatum f. cordatum S.L. Tung
  • Acer pictum subsp. truncatum (Bunge) A.E. Murray
  • Acer platanoides var. truncatum (Bunge) Gams

Other taxa in genus


United States National Arboretum.
Small nut. Term may also be applied to an achene or part of a schizocarp.
Appearing as if cut off.


Dan Crowley (2020)

Recommended citation
Crowley, D. (2020), 'Acer truncatum' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-06-18.

A deciduous tree to 10 m in the wild. Bark greyish-brown, fissuring shallowly, longitudinally with age. Branchlets glabrous, purplish-red or greenish, turning darker and woody by the end of the first year. Buds ovoid, with 5 to 8 pairs of imbricate scales. Leaves broadly pentagonal in outline, base truncate, occasionally cordate, (3–)5(–7) -lobed, 5–10 × 8–12 cm, lobes ovate to braodly ovate, apically acute or acuminate, margins occasionally dentate with acuminate teeth, upper surface bright green, lower surface paler green, glabrous except for tufts in vein axils; petiole 3–9 cm long, green, glabrous, often grooved, broadest at base, exuding a milky sap when cut; autumn colours yellow to deep red. Inflorescence, terminal, corymbose, erect, ~10 flowered. Flowers yellowish-green, 5-merous, usually dioecious, Peduncle and pedicels slender, sepals oblong, 0.4–0.5 cm long, petals oblong to obovate, as long, or longer than sepals, stamens 8, inserted in the middle of the nectar disc. Samaras 3–4 cm long, wings spreading at obtuse or right angles. Nutlets flattened, nearly half as long as wing. Flowering in May, with or after unfolding leaves, fruiting in October. (Krüssmann 1984; van Gelderen et al. 1994; van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999; Xu et al. 2008).

Distribution  China Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi North KoreaSouth Korea

Habitat Understoreys of temperate forests between 400 and 1000 m asl.

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-6

RHS Hardiness Rating H7

Conservation status Least concern (LC)

Discovered in 1830, Acer truncatum was introduced in 1881 when seeds were sent to Kew and the Arnold Arboretum by Dr Bretschneider (Jacobson 1996). Further introductions were made to North America by Frank Meyer, who collected in China in the early 1900s on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture (Cunningham 1984). Plants from his introduction are represented at the Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia and the United States National Arboretum, Washington D.C. (USNA). A Joseph Hers collection, HERS 1216, collected slightly later, grows at the Arnold Arboretum. (American Public Gardens Association 2017). North American collections also hold material of a number of more recent introductions. KNW 360 and 465, collected from Korea in 1984 grow at the Morris Arboretum, NACPEC 02–041, from Shanxi, grows at the USNA and NACPEC 10–029, also from Shaanxi, grows at both the Arnold and Morris arboreta.

Recent wild introductions to European collections are somewhat rarer and while plants of SICH 1814 and 2087 may be found growing as Acer truncatum, they have recently been determined as A. pictum subsp. macropterum (Crowley 2015). Though the two taxa are similar in foliage characters, they can be separated on characters of fruit. In A. truncatum the wing is often only as long as, or slightly longer than, twice the length of the nutlet, where as in A. pictum the wing is three or more times as long as the nutlet.

Utilised as as street tree in parts of northern China (van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999), its use in the urban environment is advocated by Dirr (2011), particularly in warmer environs, given its heat tolerance. Also drought tolerant and unfussy in terms of soil preference, selections of the species and hybrids with Acer platanoides have been made by growers in the southern United States for use in their climate. The species has good autumn colour, from yellow to deep red and despite the specific epithet, its leaves do not always have truncate bases, being somewhat more variable. Occasional toothing should also not be a surprise. A. truncatum is also unique among maples in its hypogeal germination (van Gelderen et al. 1994), with the first leaves to appear above ground being true leaves, rather than cotyledons.

'Akikaze nishiki'

Synonyms / alternative names
'Shuhu Nishiki'

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

A densely branched shrub or tree to 6 m, ‘Akikaze nishiki’ was introduced by J.D. Vertrees before 1960 (van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999). It has smaller leaves than typical for the species, which are white speckled and variegated though prone to reversion (van Gelderen & van Gelderen 1999).

'Fire Dragon'

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

Selected by Keith Johansson of Metro Maples, Texas, in 2006, ‘Fire Dragon’ exhibits orange to red summer growth, red autumn colour and increased heat tolerance (Johansson 2006; Dirr & Warren 2019). It takes a spreading form (Dirr & Warren 2019).

'Golden Dragon'

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

Notable for its acute leaf bases and toothed lobes, ‘Golden Dragon’ was selected by Keith Johansson of Metro Maples, Texas (Johansson 2006). It has golden yellow autumn colour (Dirr & Warren 2019).

'Super Dragon'

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

Discovered in 2006, ‘Super Dragon’ was introduced by Keith Johansson of Metro Maples, Texas (Johansson 2011). Its smaller than typical leaves unfold orange, turning yellow-green leaves with paler venation before turning red in autumn (Johansson 2011). The leaves are not prone to sunscorch and their central lobes are toothed (Johansson 2011).


RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

Selected by Song Sparrow Nurseries, Wisconsin, ‘Velazquez’ is described as a form with leaves that turn golden yellow to yellow-orange in autumn (Song Sparrow Nursery 2020).


Synonyms / alternative names
Main Street ®

RHS Hardiness Rating: H5

Selected by Worthington Farms of Greenville, North Carolina, Main Street is advocated for urban use by Barborinas (2019). Fast growing yet not exceeding 10 m tall, its leaves emerge reddish before turning green, though maintaining reddish margins (Barborinas 2019). In autumn, it usually turns orange-red (Dirr 2011), though in Oregon it has turned bright red (Dirr & Warren 2019).