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



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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!


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).


On Apr 3, 2012, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS (Zone 6b) 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... read more


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.