A small tree, or large shrub of bushy habit; branchlets glabrous. Leaves up to 31⁄2 in. long, 21⁄2 in. wide, three-lobed, slightly heart-shaped or truncate at the base, margins angularly toothed; nearly, or quite glabrous on both surfaces, bright dark green above; the lobes are ovate, with the middle one much the longest; leaf-stalk and midrib reddish. Flowers yellowish white, in small panicles, very fragrant, appearing in May. Fruit glabrous; keys 1 in. long; wings 1⁄3 in. wide, nearly parallel.
Native of China, Manchuria, and Japan; first introduced by way of St Petersburg. This maple is nearly allied to A. tataricum, but differs markedly in the shape of the leaf. The foliage turns a beautiful red in early autumn, but often drops so soon after colouring that the effect is rather fleeting.
var. semenowii (Reg. & Herd.) Pax A. semenowii Reg. & Herd. – A geographical form found farther to the west, in Turkestan. Its leaves are smaller, sometimes five-lobed, and the wings of the fruit are more divergent.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
It is doubtful whether this maple can rank any higher than as a subspecies of A. tataricum. It should be added that A. aidzuense (Franch.) Nakai, recently introduced, is near to A. ginnala. It was originally described by Franchet in 1880 as A. tataricum var. aidzuense, from a specimen collected by Faurie in central Japan. In Ohwi's Flora of Japan it appears in the synonymy of A. ginnala, but there seem to be some grounds for considering it as distinct (de Jong, op. cit., pp. 148, 158).