Acer ginnala (Amur Maple)

Plant Info
Also known as: Ginnala Maple
Family:Sapindaceae (Soapberry)
Life cycle:perennial woody
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
Habitat:part shade, sun; urban and suburban landscapes, disturbed soil, woodland edges, fencerows, open fields and savanna
Bloom season:April - May
Plant height:15 to 20 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Slightly elongated, round clusters about 1½ inches long and 1 inch across appear at the tips of branches after leaves have reached maturity. The yellowish white flowers are andromonecious, meaning some are perfect with both stamens and styles while some are just staminate. Both types are about 1/8 inch across with 5 sepals and petals that remain obscurely curved in over the base of the flower. 8 stamens spread above and, when present, a single, 2-parted style is in the center with tips that curl back.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are simple, opposite, and stalked, the blade up to 4¾ inches long and 4 inches wide, though typically half as wide or less, with 3 palmate, pointed lobes, the central lobe significantly larger than the two laterals, the edges double toothed. Upper surface is dark green, smooth and glossy, the lower surface paler and smooth. Leaves turn yellow or red in fall.

[photo of mature trunk] Branchlets are slender, grayish brown and smooth, older branches turning grayish to brown like the trunk, the bark moderately textured by furrows and ridges. The natural form is a small multi-trunked tree with a spreading irregular crown, though landscape specimens can be trained into a single trunk with pruning.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a pair of winged seeds (samara), 1 to 1¼ inches long that matures in September and October, though may be held on the tree into winter. The wings are nearly parallel, forming less than a 30 degree angle.


Amur maple is a small tree or large shrub imported into the US from Asia by the horticultural industry for ornamental purposes. It is grown as a hedge or small tree and is noted for its fall color. There are a number of cultivars in the trade that have been selected for form, fall leaf color and bright red samaras. Flora of China treats it as a subspecies of Tatarian Maple (Acer tataricum), of which the subspecies tataricum has also been introduced. It purportedly trains to a single trunk tree more readily and is several feet taller but does not get the striking fall colors of ginnala. It can readily be distinguished by its leaves that are essentially unlobed with just irregularly toothed edges. Both species have become invasive throughout the eastern US, displacing understory shrubs in woodlands and shading out grasses and forbs in grasslands and savannas.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka, Chisago and Ramsey counties


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Jay - Afton
on: 2015-06-10 17:34:16

This tree has taken over and killed most of my good trees. It has developed a canopy that lets in no light. I have cut down hundreds of them and sprayed. It seems like for every one I cut down a dozen or more grow in its place. The areas that are now getting sun they cover the ground like field grass. I want to kill them all and have good trees again. Dont know how to beat them.

Posted by: Ellen S. - Hennepin County - Edina, Pamela Park
on: 2016-10-29 15:57:53

This has gotten into Pamela Park, though I have not seen many trees yet; probably can't compete with the massive buckthorn infestation.

Posted by: Jim L - Carlton County-Esko area
on: 2020-02-01 09:36:35

Have a lot of this shrub in what was formerly pasture. Attempting to control this plant and the Canada Thistle, Butter and eggs, Burdock,Tansy, etc., etc. would constitute a more than full time non-stop overwhelming and futile job considering my neighbors are either oblivious or indifferent (or both) to presence or control. Good to know that they are non-native but control is impractical and impossible without governmental large scale intervention (not likely)

Posted by: Tom - Near Bemidji
on: 2020-02-28 21:39:13

I have one in my yard and is one of the most beautiful small trees/shrubs that I have in my entire yard! It was given to me as a gift years ago from a friend/neighbor, and I wouldn't think of destroying it.

Posted by: Miles Johnston - Wabasha county, Gillford township
on: 2020-06-12 23:17:26

About 30 years ago, when my wife and I first bought our land, the DNR or the soil conservation dept. was selling amur maples and caragana (Siberian pea tree) which we bought and planted, unfortunately. When we took a master naturalist class a few years ago we found out they're both non-native invasive plants. I cut them all down but will be pulling and digging the little trees for many years to come because of all the seedlings they produced.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-06-13 08:19:21

Miles, all of the state agencies that used to plant or sell bad plants have learned from their mistakes and stopped the practice some years ago. Unfortunately, fixing those mistakes is not so easy.

Posted by: Donna Maxie - Mountain Iron
on: 2021-11-21 13:33:11

Amur Maple lines the street where houses used to exist until the iron mine bought the properties

Posted by: BR - St. Paul
on: 2023-10-27 18:57:00

A mature Amur maple (at least 25 foot high/wide) came with our house, and while it's a fairly attractive tree, it's also disease-prone and has dropped multiple limbs during summer and winter storms. We've been pruning it back and have underplanted a native Sugar maple to take its place. Even if this tree wasn't invasive, its negative qualities far outweigh any positives. There are SO MANY native maple varieties that are far better suited to our landscape and more beautiful than the Amur.

Posted by: Andy - Minneapolis
on: 2024-06-21 16:08:28

One of these multi-trunk trees is in a neighbor's yard--at the far east edge of Hennepin County. The weight of its many seed heads and leaves causes its branches to bend way down and snap off. Ditto with ice and snow. Despite its ongoing limb loss, it's managed to reach about 15' tall. To say this tree has poor structure is an understatement.

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