There are many beautiful Japanese maples and this is one of them. With its elegant form and superb autumn coloration it is a fine choice for a courtyard, cottage garden, or Japanese garden. Its palmate leaves are 2-5” long and have seven to nine long, tapering lobes with finely serrated margins. Bright green when they emerge, they turn orange and then scarlet when temperatures change, and persist well into late fall. The small flowers produced in spring are pendent, purple-red, and followed in autumn by red-winged fruits (samaras). Plant in a place that is sheltered from winds to avoid leaf scorch.   Japanese maple is native to Japan and Korea and is a member of the soapwort family, Sapindaceae, that also includes lychee, and buckeye. The genus name, Acer, is the classical Latin name for the genus.  The specific epithet, palmatum, comes from the Latin word referring to palm leaves, and notes the resemblance of the leaf shape that of a palm leaf.  The variety name, heptalobum, comes from the Greek word hepta meaning 7, and the Latin word lobum meaning lobe, and refers to the seven lobes of the leaves.

Type: Deciduous shrub or small tree tree

Outstanding Feature: Form, autumn coloration

Form: Rounded, spreading

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Not horticulturally important

Size: 16’ H x 20’ W

Light: Partial shade-full sun

Soil: Average, humus-rich, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Care: Prune to shape in late summer or early autumn.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Grafting in late winter, budding in late summer.

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By Karen