The Japanese maple (species name: Acer palmatum) is a small tree or large shrub in the Maple family that is native to the Asian countries of China, Korea and Japan. It is highly prized as a garden tree for its great ornamental beauty. It is the hallmark of every Japanese garden and is often found planted next to beautiful ponds with colourful Carp fish.
The leaves are palmate with serrated margins and measure about 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) across. The leaves range in color from green to red to almost a deep purple on different cultivars. There are thousands of cultivars of this tree species that have been selected for their various leaf shapes and colors. The image below is of a variety with leaves leaning more towards red.
In the Seattle area I have seen Japanese Maples that are quite large, measuring over 20 feet tall often with multiple trunks that branch off close to the base of the tree. On smaller specimens the trees have been pruned to keep more of a dome or bonsai type shape.
The picture below was taken under a fairly large Japanese Maple in North Seattle.
Other Maples I´ve blogged about are...
Sycamore Maple, , Vine Maple, Big Leaf Maple, Red Maple, Boxelder Maple, Montpellier Maple