s a species of tree in the snakebark maple group, related to Acer capillipes (Kyushu maple). It is native to mountain forests of Japan, on Honshū, Kyūshū and Shikoku.It is a small deciduous tree growing to a height of 8–15 m, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The bark on young trees is smooth, olive-green with regular narrow vertical pale green to greyish stripes and small greyish lenticels; on old trees, it becomes rough and grey.
The leaves are three-lobed (occasionally five-lobed with two additional small basal lobes), double serrated, 8–16 cm long and 6–16 cm broad, matt to sub-shiny dark green above, paler below with small tufts of rusty hair on the veins when young, becoming glabrous when mature; the petiole is greenish (rarely pinkish), 3–5 cm long. The leaves turn to bright orange or red in the autumn.
The flowers are produced in racemes 10 cm long, each flower 8–10 mm diameter, with five yellow to greenish-yellow sepals and petals; it is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees.
The fruit is a paired samara 2–3 cm long with rounded nutlets.
A large shrub that may grow into a multi-stemmed tree. The loose habit generates an open, vase-like shaped crown. The tree can reach 10 m tall. In its original habitat in Japan it can even reach 12 m. When the tree is bare, the olive-green twigs are visible and show striking, white-grey longitudinal stripes. The green, 3-lobed, leaf varies in size from 7 to 15 cm. Across it is circa 10 cm. In autumn it turns from flaming orange-red to scarlet-red. This is a very important decorative feature. The tree forms a shallow root system which branches out profusely. A much applied maple from the group of striated maples. Though the plant prefers a warm position, scorching may occur in hot summers.