Acer davidii
Common Name: snakebark maple 
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Native Range: China, Myanmar
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers part shade, particularly in hot summer climates. Also prefers acidic soils that are kept consistently moist. Best performance occurs in cool summer climates such as the Pacific Northwest. Plants do not perform well in the heat and humidity of the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer davidii commonly called snakebark maple or Pere David's maple is a deciduous, somewhat variable, small to medium sized, understory tree that is native to mixed forest areas of central China. It is perhaps best noted for its snake-like bark, unlobed leaves and attractive autumn leaf color. It is part of the Macrantha taxonomic section of maples which consists of trees commonly called stripe bark maple or snake bark maple in reference to their distinctive bark. It is an upright, often multi-trunked tree with arching branches that grows to 30-50’ tall. Smooth, olive green bark is streaked with green and white. Ovate, unlobed (occasionally shallow-lobed), opposite, dark green leaves (3-6" long) have serrulate or doubly serrate margins. Small, inconspicuous, yellowish flowers bloom in pendant racemes (2-3" long) in spring. Flowers give way to small but abundant winged samaras which mature in fall. Excellent yellow to orange to red fall color. This species was discovered in China in 1869 by Jean Pierre Armand David (1826-1900), Jesuit missionary. Macrantha section contains 18 different species of maple, including A. capillipes and A. pensylvanicum.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet honors Jean Pierre Armand David (1826-1900).


Potential disease problems include verticillium wilt, leaf spots, tar spot, canker and root rots. Potential insect problems include aphids, scale, borers and caterpillars. Mites may appear.


Uncommonly found in cultivation. Attractive small tree or large shrub for the landscape.