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The Rampant Gardener

The Rampant Gardener

Acer palmatum, called Japanese Maple or Smooth Japanese Maple is a species of maple native to Japan and South Korea.  Acer palmatum is a deciduous shrub or small tree reaching heights of 6 – 10 m, rarely 16 m, often growing as an understory plant in shady woodlands. It may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground. In habit, it is often shaped like an upside-down pyramid (especially when younger) or takes on a dome-like form, especially when mature.  The leaves are 4 – 12 cm long and wide, palmately lobed with five, seven, or nine acutely pointed lobes. The flowers are produced in small cymes, the individual flowers with five red or purple sepals and five whitish petals. The fruit is a pair of winged samaras, each samara 2 – 3cm long with a 6 – 8mm seed. The seeds of Japanese maple and similar species require stratification in order to germinate.
Japanese Maple has been grown in temperate areas around the world since the 1800s and has been cultivated in Japan for centuries.  Red-leafed cultivars are the most popular, it is also a popular and appropriate choice for bonsai enthusiasts and has been used throughout the history of the art.
Like most maples, it is fairly adaptable but grows best in deep, well-drained, fertile soils. It grows well as an understory tree, tolerating fairly dense shade. However, they also cast deep shadows, making planting other plants under them difficult.

Acer Palmatum Atropurpureum - Japanese Red  Maple
Acer Palmatum

Japanese Red  Maple


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