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Woody > Acer > Acer pictum > Acer pictum subsp. mono

Acer pictum

ssp. mono

Mono Maple or Painted Maple

Origin:  Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia to eastern Russia. Mention should be made of the many synonyms: it is also known as A. cappadocicum var. mono, A. mono, as well as A. truncatum subsp. mono, with current sources pointing towards A. pictum subsp. mono as the accepted botanical name. J.D. Vertrees and Peter Gregory (2001), in their book Japanese Maples state that “A. pictum has now been accepted by the International Botanical Congress, and so it takes precedence over A. mono”.
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A classic and noteworthy maple tree for when spring comes the leaves emerge a light green with hints of gold but by summer will become a brilliant lush green while autumn brings stunning oranges, yellows and deep reds. It is a medium to large tree and can reach heights of 12-15 m with some exceptional plants growing over 20 m.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Sapindaceae (Aceraceae)
Tree (deciduous)
A. cappadocicum var. mono, A. mono, A. truncatum subsp. mono
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
5 - 6a
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
(-23) - (-18)
Temperature (°F)
(-10) - 0
12-20 m
15 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
A short statured deciduous tree with dark green foliage and bright yellow/orange autumn colour that is typically found with small flowering racemes in April-May, followed by small paired samaras. This subspecies has been placed on the IUCN Red List as least concern.
The Painted Maple is used as a shade as well as a specimen tree in some gardens additionally it may be used in places such as parks, memorial gardens and estate landscapes. The Japanese use it extensively in landscape designs as specimen tree for shade and splendid autumn colour.
A tree preferring a moderately sunny position but can tolerate partial shade to full sun. It grows well in moist soils that are well drained but can flourish in heavy clay soils with no preferable pH, but can suffer from chlorosis in alkaline soils.
A very broad-spreading, rounded to almost flat-topped tree often equal in width and height.
ID Characteristic
A low growing tree with simple, opposite, 5-7 lobed dark green leaves, 2-4 cm long samaras and a white latex sap exudate from broken twigs.
Tar spot and verticillium wilt are potential problems.
It can be found on hillsides, mountainsides, valleys, and forests.
Bark/Stem Description
Mature bark is light to dark grey and is rough and coarse with vertical fissures. Branches and twigs are a light brown with noticeable, regularly spaced white lenticels. Freshly broken twigs exude a white latex sap identical to A. platanoides.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The ovoid buds are 3 mm - 1 cm long, dark lustered, purplish red with 4-6 scales with the edges finely pubescent while the apex is silky pubescent.
Leaf Description
The lobed, palmate leaves are opposite, cordate with entire margins. They are variable size ranging from 7.5-15 cm in length and width. The adaxial surface is smooth while abaxial it is rough but with an absence of hairs along the main vein (the only difference between it and the species).
Flower Description
The flowering period is April-May when the greenish yellow flowers are borne on 6-9 cm long corymbrose racemes
Fruit Description
2-4 cm long samaras spread at right angles from the stems, bronze to light brown in colour and being quite abundant.
Colour Description
Normally dark green with lighter undersides of leaves changing to an outstanding yellow/orange in the autumn. The bark is grey while the flowers are a greenish yellow.
Texture Description
It is a medium textured tree.
Notable Specimens
Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
Pre-soak the seeds for 24 hours and stratify for 2-4 months at a temperature of 1-8 °C. Once seeds have grown to be 20 cm or more, transplant to pots. It may also be grafted onto A. platanoides root stock.
Vertrees, J.D. expanded by Gregory, Peter (2001). Japanese Maples, 3rd ed. Revised and expanded. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. Barrett, Rosemary. (2004). Maples, Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books Inc.