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PlantFiles: Shantung Maple, Purpleblow Maple
Acer truncatum

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: truncatum (trunk-AH-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Acer mono
Synonym:Acer truncatum subsp. mono

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

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

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By tobydmv
Thumbnail #1 of Acer truncatum by tobydmv

By Decumbent
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By Decumbent
Thumbnail #3 of Acer truncatum by Decumbent

By Decumbent
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By Decumbent
Thumbnail #5 of Acer truncatum by Decumbent

By Decumbent
Thumbnail #6 of Acer truncatum by Decumbent

By Decumbent
Thumbnail #7 of Acer truncatum by Decumbent

There are a total of 20 photos.
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10 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive s_fiddy On Apr 19, 2013, s_fiddy from Poway, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I planted this tree from a 5 gallon container in February 2012. It has grown several feet in its first season. It is doing very well already this Spring. I am shocked it isn't more popular out west since it does well with all kinds of soils and is heat and drought tolerant. Great tree!

Positive glb360 On Apr 9, 2012, glb360 from Grand Prairie, TX wrote:

I planted a Shantung "Fire Dragon" (the red colored one) and a regular Shantung (yellow) about two months before the record heat and drought of 2011. Because of the harsh conditions I had my doubts, but these two trees pulled through and are now (spring 2012) growing very fast. I can't wait for their fall colors! I recommend visiting MetroMaples tree farm (great idea for a family outing) and picking out your own tree but call ahead because they sell out fast! I live in Grand Prairie, TX (Dallas suburb).

Positive Gardeningman On Apr 3, 2012, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS wrote:

The Acer truncatum or Shantung Maple, especially the 'Fire Dragon' cultivar is one tough little tree that looks great. I would highly recommend this tree to anyone searching for a medium sized tree and doesn't mind waiting a while for it to reach a mature size.
The Shantung Maple is a slow growing tree, so don't expect a nice shade tree after 10-15 years. It also naturally branches low to the ground, so it should not be planted next to roads or sidewalks as it may, in time, obstruct the path. Removing the lower branches can be done without hurting the health of the tree, but the natural form of the tree may be permanently marred in doing so. Below is a link to a photo of a mature shantung maple that did have the branch removed on one side.
If you have the patience and right spot for a Shantung Maple tree in your yard or garden I would suggest it be planted.

Positive notgnostic On Feb 10, 2010, notgnostic from Conroe, TX wrote:

My husband and I drove almost 600 miles round-trip today to purchase three Fire Dragon Shantung maples from the man who discovered them. His name is Keith Johnnsson, the owner of Metro Maples in the Ft. Worth, TX area. I highly recommend this tree. The Fire Dragon Shantung is always red in fall and is easy to grow with no real problems other than it doesn't like wet feet.

Positive twogrnthmbs On Jan 26, 2009, twogrnthmbs from Emporia, KS wrote:

I love this little tree as it has easily met my first criteria for a good plant - it not only survives, it thrives. It has grown successfully for me in a variety of sites for a number of years. I first came across this plant growing at the Bartlett Arboretum in South Central Kansas. I was told by the staff that Acer truncatum was being trialed nearby at the Kansas State University research facility in Wichita, KS. by Dr. John Pair. I made a visit there and saw several young trees and was impressed with their apparent vigor. They had such a nice, glossy green foliage, even in the middle of summer.
I have planted this tree through my job in several area parks and our municipal zoo. It has grown in good loam and tight clay soils, with and without regular watering and through a variety of weather, from summer days of drought with temps in the hundreds to winter cold of sub-zero temperatures. Some of these trees are in full shade, where they are understandably thinner but still healthy, with no sign of foliar diseases, and some are in full-sun yet have never shown much stress even when subjected to the sweeping winds we often get here in mid-central Kansas.
Shantung, or Purpleblow maple tends to have multiple stems for a shrubby appearance and the 12 to 15 year old trees growing for me are nearly 20 feet in width and height. You can find them trained to a single stem and with some judicious pruning, they can be kept to that.
Fall color on the trees I know has tended to a rich yellow and seems to persist for a couple of weeks. New leaves emerge tinged reddish purple. The bark is a light gray-brown and holds to the trunk thin and tight with few fissures.

Positive Darren10 On Jul 15, 2008, Darren10 from Houston, TX wrote:

I bought it from RCW Nurseries in Tomball, Tx. (Houston) approx. 5 years ago. What an undemanding tree. Never scorches, no bugs, no special watering, and I am the only one on the block with bright yellow leaves in the fall, and that's with only a few "cool" days in Oct.

Positive lou_DFW On Apr 10, 2007, lou_DFW from Midlothian, TX wrote:

Very easy to grow in my rocky alkaline soil in full sun during very hot summer. I have 'Fire Dragon' which produces consistent fall color. Great tree. I have grown a lot of seedlings from seeds and they all have different leaf shapes and also different summer growth color. Very interesting to watch how they turn out. Most of them have bright yellow fall color and none had red ones so that should tell you that it is rare to find true consistent red fall color from shantung maples.

Very tough tree that can tolerate heat, wind, ice and drought! Try it out!

Positive Decumbent On Oct 31, 2006, Decumbent from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

A strong grower with ornamental foliage and interesting bark. Acer truncatum is quite different from Acer mono, which is sometimes called Acer truncatum ssp. mono. My young Acer truncatum seems to suffer more foliar diseases than my other maples, but I'm hoping this changes as the tree matures.

Supposedly Shantung Maple is frequently used as a street tree in Chinese cities, which attests to the tree's toughness.

Positive tobydmv On Apr 26, 2006, tobydmv from Lake Dallas, TX wrote:

Excellent maple for North Texas. Good seasonal color with purples leaves in spring fading to dark green. Somewhat drought tolerant. Leaves can scorch in hot sun and wind. First year my tree showed a brief light yellow fall color, then the wind took all the leaves. I have noticed there are lots of little babies popping up in the grass around my tree so it can sucker although I think these are from seeds, not roots. Have not had the tree long enough to summarize characteristics. They are hard to find and expensive but have the japanese maple look you might be searching for.

Positive Treeguy On Mar 20, 2005, Treeguy from Charleston, SC wrote:

This lovely Maple is not well known so it is much under used. I thought I would not find the rough bark appealing, yet now I have fallen to its allure, loving it as much as any other Maple's bark. There is a slight hint of a purplish striation within the ridges which also adds to the appeal. Fall color can be very good, but it is the purplish-red unfolding young leaves that give this tree its name and makes it famous. It is a sight to behold indeed. I have been asked over and over again to keep growing this Maple, which I have now introduced to the Columbia,SC area.

Neutral smiln32 On Apr 16, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree originated in China. Easily grown in average, medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic soils with good drainage. Established trees reportedly have good heat and drought tolerance.


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

Poway, California
Edwardsville, Illinois
Kingman, Kansas
Smiths Grove, Kentucky
Kearney, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Saugerties, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Hugo, Oklahoma
Arlington, Texas
Azle, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Helotes, Texas
Houston, Texas
Midlothian, Texas
Spring, Texas
Van Alstyne, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Green Bay, Wisconsin

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