Acer buergerianum

Trident Maple




  • native to Japan
  • zone 5 (warmer parts)
  • hardier as a mature plant; young trees tend to twig kill some in winter

Habit and Form

  • oval to rounded small tree
  • deciduous
  • typically 20 to 25', but can easily reach 35'+

Summer Foliage

  • opposite, 3-lobed, 1.5" to 3" long
  • leaf base rounded, lobes point forward, looks like a duck foot
  • leaf shape varies considerably on different individuals
  • shiny, bright green when mature, emerge with reddish tints

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow, orange, red; individuals vary in quality of coloration
  • colors late for a maple


  • greenish-yellow, not of importance
  • early spring with leaf emergence


  • samaras, 0.75" to 1" long


  • exfoliating in scales and plates
  • interesting mix of orange, brown and gray


  • relatively easy to transplant
  • prefers moist, slightly acid soil
  • reported to be drought tolerant
  • best in full sun

Landscape Uses

  • street tree
  • patio tree
  • specimen


  • relatively problem free
  • winter twig kill
  • variability in fall foliage coloration among individuals

ID Features

  • duck-foot leaf shape
  • exfoliating orange tinted bark


  • primarily from seed


Even the straight species itself is rare, though several variegated and dwarf cultivars are readily available from bonsai nurseries.

'Streetwise' (Streetwise®) - A promising introduction with good red fall color, handsome bark that peels at an early age and an upright habit that lends itself to single-stem training and more common use in the landscape.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.