Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'
Common Name: full moon maple 
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 16.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 16.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Reddish-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Fruit: Showy


Best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color occurs with part afternoon shade. Leaves may scorch in full sun. Plants prefer cool summer conditions. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Late spring frost may damage foliage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer shirasawanum, sometimes commonly called full moon maple or shirasawa maple, is native to Japan. It is similar in appearance to Acer japonicum. It is a small, slow-growing, upright-rounded, deciduous tree that over time may rise to 16-20’ tall. It also grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. Round leaves (to 4” long) with 9-13 shallow lobes turn gold to orange to red in fall.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Species name honors Japanese dendrologist Miho Shirasawa (1868-1947).

‘Aureum’ is a popular yellow-leaved cultivar that is most noted for its showy bright yellow foliage (sometimes edged with red) in spring. Foliage gradually darkens to yellow-green by summer before turning attractive shades of orange-red (sometimes tinged with purple) in fall. Reddish-purple flowers in erect corymbs bloom in spring. Flowers give way to attractive red samaras (to 3/4” long) which contrast well with the foliage. Samaras mature to brown in fall. ‘Aureum’ was formerly listed as a cultivar of Acer japonicum. Although removed from A. japonicum and placed in A. shirasawanum in 1984, this popular cultivar is still commonly called golden fullmoon maple in some circles.


Susceptible to verticillium wilt, leaf spots, root rots, anthracnose, collar rot and stem canker. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and caterpillars. Mites may appear.


Grown primarily for its attractive foliage, bushy shape and excellent fall color. Specimen/accent or group around the home, patio or yard. Good understory tree/shrub for the landscape.