Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ Golden Full Moon Maple

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The foliage of this prized Aureum Japanese maple virtually glows throughout the season. Especially in a site with filtered light, the fan-shaped leaves emerge bright yellow in spring, then gradually soften to yellow-green, a color that holds all summer.



USDA Hardiness Map

Plant Form

Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ is a spectacular small tree called Golden Full Moon Maple. It is known for its fan-shaped leaves that glow with changing colors from spring to fall. The species is native to Japan and was named shirasawanum to honor the Japanese dendrologist Mira Shirasawa. Golden Full Moon Maple was introduced into Holland from Japan in 1865 and England in 1881 and received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.
It is called a Full Moon Maple because the leaves of this beautiful Japanese Maple are a round fan shape, with 9-13 shallow, curved lobes. They emerge a golden yellow in the spring, often with a thin red edge, then deepen to a yellow-green or chartreuse in the summer. Leaf petioles and new stems are bright red, contrasting with the light-colored foliage. In fall, the leaves ignite into vivid oranges and reds. Small, upright, reddish-purple flowers cluster between the yellow leaves in spring and develop into bright red-winged samaras that hang on the tree until they mature late in the season.
The tree has a compact, upright form and grows slowly at a rate of 6″-9″ per year, reaching 6′-8′ high × 4′-5′ wide in 10 years. It is a perfect choice for small city gardens, rock gardens, woodland gardens, containers, and bonsais and attracts beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife.
Golden Full Moon Maple needs to be grown in moist, well-draining, slightly acidic soil rich in organic matter, from partial to almost full shade. Its foliage colors are brightest when the tree is protected from the hot afternoon sun, which can burn its leaves, especially in the warmer areas of its 5-9 hardiness zones. It also needs to be protected from cold winds and spring frosts that can damage the emerging leaves. Water the tree regularly while it is establishing and during periods of dryness to keep the soil moist. Mulching around the base is helpful to retain moisture and keep the roots cool. Golden Full Moon Maples grown in containers or as bonsais will need to be watered more frequently since their soil will dry out more quickly than trees grown in the ground.
Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ is a showpiece in any garden, and the right plants growing around it can only add to its charm. Dark green conifers, like pine and hemlock, can serve as a contrasting backdrop for the light-colored leaves. Hydrangeas, rhododendrons, azaleas, and mountain laurels have similar cultural requirements as Japanese maples and make an attractive combination when planted nearby. Perennials, such as hellebores, anemones, liriopes, heucheras, hostas, ferns, and ornamental grasses, are beautiful under and around the tree. Little spring bulbs, like crocus, snowdrops, grape hyacinth, glory of the snow, squill, and dwarf iris, offer a spot of color against the new, yellow leaves early in the season.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Latin Name

Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'

Common name

Golden Full Moon Maple

Leaf Type


Annual Growth




Sun Exposure

Part Shade



Hardiness Zone

Zones 5-9




Growth Rate

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