Amur maple is native to a large area in the Far East, where it grows in open forest, on moist slopes and at the edges of bogs. In Finland it is the most commonly grown shrub maple, along with its near relative the Tatarian maple (Acer tataricum subsp. tataricum). With age, it may become more tree-like in form but is usually multi-stemmed and as wide as it is high. It is more slender than the Tatarian. The dark green shiny leaves are lobed, with double-toothed edges, whereas those of the Tatarian are unlobed.
Amur maple is fast-growing but also fairly long-lived. It doesn’t flower until mature, the pale-green flowers being almost hidden by the foliage, but the seeds – winged samaras typical of the maples – redden as they ripen and decorate the shrub far into winter after turning brown. In full sun the Amur maple takes on brilliant orange-red autumn colours.