OBJECTIVE : The preoperative prediction of the WHO grade of a meningioma is important for further treatment plans. This study aimed to assess whether texture analysis (TA) based on apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps could non-invasively classify meningiomas accurately using tree classifiers. METHODS : A pathology database was reviewed to identify meningioma patients who underwent tumour resection in our hospital with preoperative routine MRI scanning and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) between January 2011 and August 2017. A total of 152 meningioma patients with 421 preoperative ADC maps were included. Four categories of features, namely, clinical features, morphological features, average ADC values and texture features, were extracted. Three machine learning classifiers, namely, classic decision tree, conditional inference tree and decision forest, were built on these features from the training dataset. Then the performance of each classifier was evaluated and compared with the diagnosis made by two neuro-radiologists. RESULTS : The ADC value alone was unable to distinguish three WHO grades of meningiomas. The machine learning classifiers based on clinical, morphological features and ADC value could achieve equivalent diagnostic performance (accuracy = 62.96%) compared to two experienced neuro-radiologists (accuracy = 61.11% and 62.04%). Upon analysis, the decision forest that was built with 23 selected texture features and the ADC value from the training dataset achieved the best diagnostic performance in the testing dataset (kappa = 0.64, accuracy = 79.51%). CONCLUSIONS : Decision forest with the ADC value and ADC map-based texture features is a promising multiclass classifier that could potentially provide more precise diagnosis and aid diagnosis in the near future. CONCLUSIONS : • A precise preoperative prediction of the WHO grade of a meningioma brings benefits to further treatment plans. • Machine learning models based on clinical, morphological features and ADC value could achieve equivalent diagnostic performance compared to experienced neuroradiologists. • The decision forest model built with 23 selected texture features and the ADC value achieved the best diagnostic performance (kappa = 0.64, accuracy = 79.51%).