SCIENTIFIC NAME: Acer palmatum

COMMON NAME: Japanese maple

FLOWERS: Small red to purple flowers in spring. Borne in umbels or corymbs. Hard to see unless you look very closely.

FRUIT: Double samara that is small and red. Much smaller than the other maples.

LEAVES: Opposite with palmate venation. 5 to 7 lobes that are coarsely serrated and fine textured. Deep sinuses. Has a long red petiole and good red fall color.

Click here to see chart of 16 maple leaves.

GROWTH HABIT: Grows 15' to 20' tall depending on cultivar.

OTHER: Hardy from zone 5 to 8. Likes full sun or part shade and a well drained location. Many cultivars to choose from. Some will cost large amounts of money to buy. The red cultivars will have red leaves all summer and are more expensive than the green cultivars. A member of the Aceraceae family. A group of Japanese maple cultivars that has very fine textured leaves is known as the dissectum group. These are generally smaller growing trees and very very expensive.

PROBLEM: Does not like hot locations and/or wet feet. These problems cause leaf scorching and twig dieback.

CULTIVARS: atropurpureum, 'Bloodgood', 'Burgandy Lace',dissectum atropurpureum, dissectum atropurpureum 'Crimson Queen', dissectum atropurpureum 'Garnet', dissectum atropurpureum 'Ornatum', dissectum atropurpureum 'Red Filigree Lace', dissectum 'Viridis'.

Japanese maples in the fall color the landscape dramatically with yellow, red, orange and purple leaves. Below are photos from December 2002 taken in Auburn, AL: