Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum

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


  1. hi, i planted a new acer palmatem from a pot into my garden, i put plenty of good compost in the hole first to help the roots develope and expand, it is about 4 feet tall and has plenty of leaves which makes it look stunning but i have just noticed some drying of the very tips of some of the leaves, would this be something to be concerned about? if so what could i do to
    stop it. Thanks George, Somerset, UK.

  2. i have a question about a Japanese maple it's red and green and very small about 7" tall in a 4" tall pot. I want to plant it into a wide pot that looks like a huge cup/saucer and bring it into the house. Can I do this without shocking it or killing it and how long until I'd know? to email me f arn e y s at co m c a st. net remove spaces.

  3. I love large japanese maples trees and have several of the most unique trees to be found in the seattle region. If you have an interest in them and want to see them in person you can find me, Charlie Morgan. Val Easton wrote an article about my tree.

  4. These trees/plants truly are amazing to look at...they are one of my favorites and I plan to include a few into my landscape this summer.

    You mentioned different species and sizes...my personal favorite is the Laceleaf Weeping Red Japanese Maple. It makes a great addition to any landscape!

    I like your pictures as well!


  5. Japanese Maples and Evergreens specializes in Rare and Hard to find Japanese Maple Trees, conifers, evergreens, bamboo and wisteria. We grow over 900 hundred varieties of Japanese maples and conifers, most of our plants can be trained into bonsai. We do most of the Japanese maple and conifer grafting, and we grow everything in our nursery. We have over 20 years experience. Here is my web address if you would like to check it out.