“I'm looking for a red maple.” We hear this regularly. If we showed customers a real red maple they would end up with a 60' green leafed shade tree. What the customers really want is a Japanese red maple or acer palmatum atropurpureum, commonly referred to as a Blood Good (cultivar). This is a beautiful tree, but when it comes to Japanese maples the possibilities are endless. Red, green, variegated, and gold are a few leaf possibilities. Deeply lobed, serrated, willow leafed, large palmate, and tiny are all leaf types.
Habits range from Groundcover (an actual maple name) to true dwarfs like Englishtown (discoverd in NJ), Elizabeth, and Sharp’s Pygmy, which range from 18" to 8'. More moderately sized maples from 8’ to 15' like Rhode Island Red, Lion’s Head, Coral Bark (bark turns intense red in the winter) and the larger group, which include Blood Good, Emperor One, Orido Nishiki (a beautiful variegated maple), and Seryiu (a finely dissected upright green with incredible fall color).
(Pictured Above: Shiraz, Skeeter's Broom, Kinshi)
Most of our Japanese maples and their cousins acer japonicum are truly outrageous in the fall. So next time you stop by ask to see a Shiraz or Geisha Gone Wild; you'll be amazed at the colors. Check out a Tsuma Gaki (a green leaf maple with red margins) or the beautiful Ukigumo (floating cloud with green and white mottling on the leaves). If you really want to be hip, look for the Winter Flame, which is a very compact version of Coral Bark. As our friends in Boston would say, it’s "wicked cool."
Whew, so many maples so little time, but surely one to please you everyday in your garden.