June 27, 2013
Acer triflorum
Three-flowered maple

DescriptionAn attractive tree for the established landscape. Three-flowered maple will add interesting texture, peeling bark and nice fall colour for spots that need a smaller specimen.
UsageBoulevard, container, patio, specimen, street tree.
OriginManchuria, Korea
Hardiness zone3,4
Form/textureDense, rounded, symmetrical canopy.
Fine texture.
"Bark finely scaly; curling in coils to give the trunk a pleasingly rugged look" (Jacobson).
Growth rateSlow, but long lived.
LeafOpposite, trifoliate.
Exceptional fall colour with reds, pinks and yellow-orange.
FlowerSpring, not showy.
FruitPlentiful, but low viability.
Exposure/cultureTolerates shade; some authors suggest protection from hot summer sun (Gilman).
With a shallow root system it is moderately tolerant of salt, soils, pH Sensitive to drought.
Few pests.
Needs little pruning.
May not tolerate compaction or high pH.
CommentsA fairly obscure species from Asia, this is a plant you might find in a collector's garden, but it proves to be equally at home on urban sites where conditions aren't quite as welcoming. It also proves to be tolerant of urban stresses, including drought and salt, and is also more cold hardy than one might expect. There are several trees on exposed sites in the University of Guelph Arboretum (Zone 5a) that have never shown any symptoms of cold damage where Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) and Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) have. Bark peels off in long, thin strips somewhat like paperbark maple; Fine texture of leaves and bark are striking addition to an established landscape.
Production challenge lies in obtaining large enough quantities of viable seed.

Gilman, E.F. 1997. Trees for Urban and Suburban Landscapes. Delmar Publishers. Albany,N.Y. 662 pp.
Jacobson, A.L. 1996. North American Landscape Trees. Ten Speed Press, Berkely California. 722pp.