Acer caudatifolium

Common Name: snakebark maple 
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Native Range: China, Taiwan
Zone: 8 to 9
Height: 25.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Creamy white to pale green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining soil in full sun to part shade. Light afternoon shade can help prevent leaf scorch. Prefers sheltered locations protected from strong winds. Best in mild, maritime or coastal climates with cool winters and warm but not hot summers. Hardy in Zones 8-9

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer caudatifolium, commonly called snakebark maple or kawakami maple, is a small to medium sized deciduous tree endemic to the montane forests of Taiwan between 2000-8000'. Mature trees in cultivation will reach 25-40' tall with a 12-25' wide, densely branched canopy. Wild specimens have been recorded at 60' tall. The bark is smooth and green with thin, vertical striations. The ovate foliage will reach around 4" long and 1.5" wide. The leaves have a thin, papery texture and can be unlobed or have three, shallow lobes. In fall the leaves turn shades of yellow and orange. Clusters of small, creamy white to pale green flowers bloom in early spring and are followed by pairs of samaras (indehiscent winged fruits).

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

The specific epithet caudatifolium means "tailed leaves" in reference to the tips of the leaves which tend to be long-acuminate to caudate (narrowing to a tapered or abrupt point).

The common name kawakami maple refers to the now synonymous name Acer kawakamii, the specific epithet of which honors Takiya Kawakami (1871-1915), a Japanese botanist and botanist for the Government of Formosa (now Taiwan). The common name snakebark maple refers to the appearance of the bark of this species.


Armillaria root rot and verticilium wilt are potential disease issues. Watch for aphids and scale.


Accent specimen for lawns, courtyards, wooded edges.