- Acer ginnala is a small tree that grows 15-20 ft. (4.5-6 m) in height. The bark of the tree is smooth and gray.
- The leaves are opposite and 1-3 in. (2.5-7.5 cm) long. They are 3-lobed, with the terminal lobe elongated. The margins of the leaves are doubly serrate. This plant leafs out early in the spring. The fall color of the leaves is usually red, but some are bright yellow.
- The yellow-white flowers appear from May-June, after the tree has leafed out, and are borne in long-peduncled panicles. These flowers, unlike those of most maples, are fragrant.
- The reddish fruit, which hang on the tree until late fall, have nearly parallel wings and are 0.75-1 in. (2-2.5 cm) long. The seeds of Acer ginnala are dispersed primarily by wind with the help of winged samaras.
- Ecological Threat
- Due to the specie's small size, fragrant flowers and attractive fall foliage (particularly when grown in full sun), Acer ginnala is desirable as an ornamental tree and continues to be sold and planted. As a result, it may continue to spread from cultivation into a variety of habitats. It is more shade tolerant than most maples, giving it the potential for spreading into intact forests.