This is a small tree with smooth grey branches, providing pleasure in spring with its young silvery-downy leaves and in July with its flowers. Erect racemes of greenish-white flowers are pleasantly scented and attract bees. The autumn colour is an unusual yellow-brown.
Amur maackia is native to eastern Asia where it grows in the forests of moist, rich, valley slopes and along the rivers, together with Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) and broadleaf trees. It looks its best in open sunny spots but being from a continental climate it comes into leaf early, so during spring frosts it benefits from the light shade of a protective canopy. Like other leguminous plants the roots can fix nitrogen direct from the atmosphere and the fallen leaves improve the soil.
It is found only in botanic collections such as Mustila, where it has grown successfully for a century. In 1995 the provenance received by the Arboretum from the Russian Far East seems to be even hardier and flowers a couple of weeks earlier than the older trees. Maackia is a fine example of how, within the same species, success and behaviour varies with provenance.