Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Vine Maple, Mountain Maple
Acer circinatum

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: circinatum (sir-sin-AY-tum) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bonehead On Jan 4, 2012, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I am fortunate to have these lovely natives growing in my back woods. They really light up in the fall, one of the earliest to turn color. Difficult to transplant, but not impossible.

Positive Spookycharles On Dec 21, 2007, Spookycharles from Langley, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

The acer circinatum is native of Western Washington with a native range extending along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. Their form is highly variable depending on the conditions theyre grown in.

They can be straight and tall when in the relative open, having a large, but delicate Japanese maple-like appearance. However, when grown under heavy forest cover they can be extremely gangly either reaching up with little branching or even stretching for surprising distances nearly along the ground.

Though they have a reputation for vibrant fall color, the vine maples on my property (growing in conditions ranging from mostly sun to heavy shade) actually have the least noticeable fall color of any of the trees in the area and typically only turn a muddy yellow at best. I have occasionally seen others growing in area woodland edges with the red color and when they display it, it is quite striking.

Even without the fall color, when grown in a lightly shaded, open area they really can be very beautiful small to medium sized trees with smooth grey bark and petite maple leaves. They look particularly lovely grown as understory trees in small groupings or as a clump.

Positive ianltaylor On Jun 25, 2003, ianltaylor wrote:

This is the only North American species of maple related to the Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). Grows best with some shade. The species is found along streams and rivers in Western British Columbia and Washington State.

The name Vine Maple is due to its habbit of growing tall with few branches if in deep shade. Grows quite slowly and bushy in full sun. Collect seed in fall when the wings are dry but the seed is still somewhat green. This avoids a tendancy to double dormancy and allows germination the first spring. Seed germinates readily if sown immediately and kept moist over winter in an unheated sheltered location.

Plant is reasonably drought tolerant, but prefers moist conditions. Leaves turn bright red in fall.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

American Canyon, California
Forest Falls, California
San Francisco, California
Bend, Oregon
Gold Hill, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Tillamook, Oregon
Leesburg, Virginia
Lea Hill, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Stanwood, Washington

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