Acer capillipes
Common Name: snakebark maple 
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Greenish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer capillipes known as snakebark maple is native to mountainous areas of Japan. It is a small, rounded, deciduous tree with dense, arching branching that grows to as much as 40’ tall. It is also often seen growing in the wild as a large, multi-stemmed, tree-like shrub. As the common name suggests, it is perhaps best noted for its snake-like, olive green bark accented with narrow, white vertical striping. Broad-ovate, glabrous, three-lobed leaves (to 5” long) with large central lobes and serrated edges emerge reddish in spring, but mature to dark green. Young shoots, leaf stalks and veins are reddish in color. Small, greenish white flowers (1/3” diameter) bloom in pendant racemes in spring. Flowers give way to winged samaras (to 3/4” long). Excellent orange to red fall color.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet in translation from Latin means slender-footed (capillus meaning hair and pes meaning foot) in apparent reference to the thin flower/fruit stalks.


No serious insect or disease problems. 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.