WSU Clark County Extension

PNW Plants Searchable, categorized images

Vine Maple

Scientific name: Acer circinatum

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:6 to 9
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:15 ft
Width:20 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:April to May
Bloom Color:Red
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Considered to be one of the best native trees for the home landscape, and an important part of the Northwest forest, vine maple is widely enjoyed for its rugged growth habit, interesting bark coloration, and beautiful fall leaf color.

Leaves have 7 to 9 lobes and are almost circular. They range in size from 2.5" to 4.5” in width, and have toothed margins. When the young leaves first appear in the spring they are red and hairy, but soon turn yellowish green on top with a pale green and downy underside. In the fall the aging leaves turn a beautiful red and gold until they are dropped. Flowers are small, reddish or purple, and morph into ¾” to 1.5” long winged seed pods spread out like other maples in a ‘V’ shape arrangement.

The foliage is borne on twisted, spreading limbs (hence the term vine). While it often resembles a shrub in the forest, with multiple stems sprouting the base of the plant, vine maple forms a small erect tree. Trunks tend to be thin and crooked, and greenish in color when they are young, but age to reddish-brown. Home gardeners can prune the lower stems to improve the over-all appearance as desired.

Vine maple flourishs as an understory tree in moist woods with dappled shade and along stream banks. In native stands vine maple commonly occurs with bigleaf maple, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, grand fir, and Pacific dogwood, with sword fern underneath.

This species also grows in open areas. For the home gardener interested in planting a yard with native vegetation, vine maple is a good selection, and a nice alternative to Japanese maples.

For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234