Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Acer griseum (paperbark maple)

The paperbark maple is an ornamental tree with peeling, copper-brown bark. Its leaves start orange in spring, then turn successively pinkish-brown, yellow and deep green through summer and finally end up deep red in autumn.
Bark of Acer griseum

Bark of Acer griseum (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Acer griseum (Franch.) Pax

Common name: 

paperbark maple, xue pi feng

Conservation status: 

Endangered (EN) according to IUCN Red List criteria in The Red List of Maples.


Mixed forest.

Key Uses: 


Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Acer

About this species

This slowly growing deciduous tree has a distinctive papery, coppery brown bark that peels away in curly flakes. It was collected in China by the French missionary Père Paul Farges and the Irish plantsman Augustine Henry. It was originally described by Adrien Franchet in 1894 as a variety of the Japanese maple, Acer nikoense. It was recollected by Ernest Wilson, introduced into Britain in 1901 and given its present name by Ferdinand Pax in 1902.


Acer nikoense var. griseum Franch., Acer pedunculatum K.S.Hao, Acer zhongtianoense W.P.Fang & B.L.Li, Crula grisea Nieuwl.


main info

Courses at Kew

Students learn about plant taxonomy and identification

Kew offers a variety of specialist training courses in horticulture, conservation and plant science.

Why People Need Plants

image of book cover

A compelling book from Kew Publishing that explores the crucial role that plants play in the everyday lives of all of us.