Paperbark Maple

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The paperbark maple is one of the most beautiful of the maple family. Native to central China, this deciduous tree slowly grows up to 9 meters tall and 6 meters wide, with the trunk's circumference reaching 28 cm. The branches, which grow low to the ground, don trifoliate leaves, and the trunk is composed of orange to bronze papery bark that peels back on the trunk over time. The maple prefers full sun and moist soil for growth but will settle for partial shade as well. Though once common in central China, deforestation and lack of conservation has made it an endangered species in its native land, while it has become a popular ornamental tree around the United States.
Hajar Samih
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Oval, vase-shape
Date of tree entry: 
8.00 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.20 m

The paperbark maple has unique purple-brown bark that folds back to reveal a bright copper color underneath. The folded bark remains attached to the trunk even after peeling back, rather than falling to the ground.
Twigs & branches
The peeling of the paperbark maple expands throughout the whole tree, from the trunk to the tips of the branches. The branches grow starting low to the ground, and are not droopy.
Paperbark maple leaves are oval-shaped and trifoliate, with a dark-green color. The leaves are deciduous, and grow to 8 inches. They possess small hairs on the underside, while displaying a bright red color in the fall.
  • Paperback Maple in the Fall, source: Amazon
Natural range of distribution: 
This tree is not native to North America, but its ability to grow in a variety of soils and pH levels allows it to proliferate across most of the United States.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Paperback maple is native to central China, where it is now an endangered species. Although mostly for decorative and ornamental use, it has been able to proliferate all around the United States due to its ability to grow in a variety of soils and pH levels; the seeds that do grow tend to grow in isolation. The species was first introduced to the US by plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson through its growth in an English nursery in 1901. Today, its wild-collected specimen are highly conserved.