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Discussion in 'Acer palmatum cultivars (photos)' started by yweride, Sep 15, 2005.
Photos taken 8/15/05
Re: Acer plamatum 'Bonfire'
Probably supposed to be called A. palmatum 'Seigai'. You might want to edit the "plamatum".
Are you sure Ron? Maybe he wants to call it Akaji nishiki. It is not Seigai. It is kind of hard to tell with all the fertilizer backing the new growth. Like a plant on steroids.
Here are few pictures of my BONFIRE as it is currently leafing out... more to follow as its foliation continues.
Here are two more images of my bonfire, the images were taken 5 days apart, showing spring foliation growth.
Here are a few more shots of my Bonfire... the amount it has leafed out in the last week, week and a half is amazing..
I am getting this plant in this spring. I am planting it next to Shin Deshojo. Do you think the color is similar to Shin or will it be a nice contrast? I am reading that Bonfire will reach 7 - 12 ft. I live in SE Pa. How big will it get?
I don't think *anything* is similar to Shin deshojo for spring color. The color of the leaves makes me think the tree is plugged into an electrical outlet!
Bonfire comes out with more of a pale shrimp pink color. The Shin deshojo will definitely upstage it. Perhaps you can plant your Katsura next to your Shin for contrast?
Here is the pink color that occurred between your two photos. I have been growing this plant in full sun and get consistently good spring color, although it does not last long.
In regards to Shindeshojo, I think the two have very similar summer leaf color and transient spring color, although Shindeshojo's spring color lasts longer. In fall, Shindeshojo will be more red in fall color and the plant you call Bonfire should be more orange, but both will not be intense and are not dependable for fall color. I think in a combination planting it would be better to choose at least one tree with more dependable fall color.
As for you plant being Bonfire, it probably is not. The plant I pictured is Akaji nishiki. Bonfire is a dwarf and spreading plant, where Akaji nishiki is upright and twiggy and will attain the height previously mentioned of 7-12 ft. Bonfire, I believe will be 3-4ft over time. I think that for most people, Wilson's Pink Dwarf will be very hard to tell from Akaji nishiki other than it leafs out a little later, usually about a week for me. Other than that, I find very little difference in their growth habit and leaf characteristics. As for Segai, which always comes up in this discussion, I find its slightly larger leaf and different color transistion pretty easy to distinguish.
Bonfire is rarely seen in trade today and all plants I have seen in Oregon in the last few years have been Akaji nishiki not Bonfire. Post a picture of your whole plant in 2-4 weeks and I can probably tell for sure if you are interested.
As for Yweride's plant, I don't know what to make of it:) I am not sure it is giving us a good look with the fertilizer--I would need to see it when it is not being pushed so much or when it is a bit older.
thanks for the info on my "BONFIRE" (?). perhaps I should rename this little specimen "OSHA WRONGNAMA AGAINSKI" in tribute to OSH hardware (after reflection, I purchased this maple at Anawalt)(sorry for the confusion), where I purchased it. Originally the plant came from SOMMER nurseries, out of Templton, CA.
I'll post a picture of the full tree in the next week or so. It's a very small plant, barely 2' tall. this is my second year with it, and after it leafs out, it stays a vibrant green throughout the summer, then changes to a pale yellow in the fall as it loses its leaves.
Attached are two photos from last year after it grew into its' summer leaves.
Sommer should/could have the right plant.
Look at the Segai thread in the main forum and see my plant wich is Akaji nishiki. If we observe the growth habits of yours and mine I think you will see a difference.
Dare I say...while OSH (or rather their maple supplier) may have many mislabeled maples once in a while they do get it right. However, I've never know them to carry maples from Sommer nursery. Sorry Shiroi I just wanted to get that straight. :-)
For all the different maples I've seen coming out of Sommer I've yet to find a mislabeled maple. That's not an endorsement of any kind. I'm just speaking from personal experience visiting the local nurseries.
There is one discrepancy. One thing I have noticed is that three very similar, yet different maples being labeled 'Butterfly' coming out of Sommer. Looking at the Butterfly thread and private talks has cleared some of that up. :-)
MJH.. thanks for the info on your "Akaji nishiki". I am atttaching a few pictures I took earlier today of my "Bonfire"(?). note the tag hanging left center, it is approximatedly 3" long to give you some sort of scale on this very small tree.
I'll continue to post pictures of this plants progress.
if this is what you're calling Bonfire it is not heat tolerant as many suggest. I have over 120 varieties in Fort Worth area and this is one of only 2 that has not made it 10 years in my yard. It grew slowly to a little over 4 foot and lasted about 8 years.
Do you think it is 'Bonfire' --if not, what plant it is? I am not certain it is Bonfire, but I am pretty certain it is not one of the other like plants either.
You say your plant grew slowly and then died by year 8. What makes you think it is heat realated? For a plant to die from heat it would have to have the leaves scorched off of it multiple times in a season and then fail to recover--this plant will handle heat better than that--actually fairly well. Heat can stress the plant some, but we don't lose plants to the heat.
Here are a few more pictures of my Bonfire (?)(I'm still wondering what this tree is as well) .. these were taken about 2 weeks ago, showing a more vibrant red/pink/salmon color.. as you can see from my last post, this has mostly grown out, progressing to a light greenish yellow leaf. The "Bonfire" (?) colors are very intense, but don't last too long before turning into the rich green leaves.
Well it's usually the case that heat doesn't kill by itself but it seems likely in Bonfire's case. Heat stress commonly means problems associated with heat like scorching, lack of moisture, heat related fungus like Botryis, etc, or even insects in hot climates. Some plants though just seem to wither and die when it gets hot. I also collect Rhododendrons and I can plant a perfectly healthy yellow Rhododendron and it just wilts and die as soon as it gets hot. Other colors seem to work for me but all the yellows just melt and die. I did not see any fungus on Bonfire or signs of a root rot disease. Rather it just seem to give up after an extremily hot and low humidity year that we had. It did make it for quite a few years though so you are probable right that it was something else. However, when it comes to Aureum Golden Fullmoon Maple that one does die just from the heat!
Great tree for spring color!
My bonfire tree. Great spring color.
Mistakenly put 'Katsura' , orangey, beside 'Shindeshojo', pink, and didn't like the spring colour contrast.
Here is my favorite photo i have taken of bonfire.
I posted this in a thread about Seigai, but thought it more appropriate here. I can tell you that yweride's tree looks nothing like what I had (any of the three times), my 1st and 3rd looked more like Krautz33, and nothing like Shiroi Oni's. Shiroi Oni's tree looks like a tree I have that was sold to me under an erroneous name that I have since decided is a Katsura.
In theory, I have owned 3 Bonfire Japanese maples. The first one was gorgeous when I got it with beautiful red color, but it did not survive transplanting - the root ball was miniscule relative to the tree and it just didn't make it. I may have over watered it as well, I had a "helpful" gardener at that time. But the nursery replaced it for free because of the rediculous root ball. But when this tree leafed out it had deep dark red leaves, almost ruby colored. Beautiful, but clearly different from the first tree. Convinced I had not been given a Bonfire, I bought another (yes, from the same nursery, they were the only ones who could get me a Bonfire at all).
This one I owned for 5 years and at two houses. I loved the tree so much that when I moved I hired a back hoe to dig it up, put it on a trailer and planted it at our new house. It was stunning there as well, but when we moved again I could only take my potted Japanese Maples with me. Sigh.
When I purchased my Bonfire it was about 5.5' tall. I put it in the ground in Port Angeles, WA in a location where it received direct morning light and filtered afternoon light. It was planted slightly above the surrounding ground in a hole more than twice as big as the root ball and with compost and mulch. I then created a top dressing of mulch around it as big as the tree's dripline, which I enlarged to keep up with the dripline for the next two years. The tree exploaded with growth (for a Japanese Maple).
It burst out in the spring with red leaves the color of a candy apple red classic car. During the late summer it would green up slightly, but there were always some candy apple new leaves in there as well. And as I remember the leaves turning green would still have a significant red cast to them (a deeper red). So from across the lawn it had a mottled red, pink, lime green coloration that looked kind of like a Fuji Apple. So I had beautiful red color from Spring to Fall. And the thing I liked about the Bonfire's red color is that it was a true red - not burgandy - almost all year long.
Within the five years (and with a mid life move) it got to be about 10 feet tall. I'd say it more than doubled in girth, height, and width. At the new location (Sequim, WA) it got full afternoon sun and in the late summer the leaves looked a bit washed out. But the year round color (and especially the stunning Spring color) made this most favorite Japanese Maple.
Regarding it's relatives, I thought I read online that the Bonfire is a member of the Chisio family. So at this new house I've bought a Shindeshojo (love it, but it'll stay smaller) and I've been contemplating a Chisio Improved. I've been reluctant to buy another Bonfire because I don't know if a new tree could live up to my expectations - I think I would always be comparing it to the one I had to leave behind that I had lovingly shaped for all those years. I must say, after writing this, I miss my tree enough that I think I may just have to get another after all.
Good history, Winterhaven. It happens to me too. I have been in my actual house almost for 2 years only; and I don't see in the near future any move; but every time that I decide to plant one of my JMs in ground, it always comes to my mind what I will do with my planted trees if I decide some day to move? Then I come up with some probable answers: dig up as you did? And then if I do, it will survive? so invariably almost in every case that I have to respond this question, I reconsider and postpone it, letting them in containers. However, I have several specimens of the same cultivar as the case for 'Sango Kaku' (4), 'Butterfly' (3), 'Bloodgood' (2), 'Waterfall' (3), so I put some of them in ground and kept at least one in containers (just in case) and in that way I can compare grow rate and habits.
I know that each tree is unique, (even if I have some others from same cultivar), but in the worst scenario (move), at least I can keep most of my collection. I know that probably in 5-10 years I will need to plant some of them if I don't want to lose; but as I'm not in a hurry I will let the time tell me what to do. I have seen other collectors that share same questions (some of them with over 100 potted cultivars!).
I think that sooner or later you will get a new 'bonfire'. The question is: will be the last one?
Bonfire is an interesting plant for me as there are several trees going around with this name.
Van Gelderan's Maples for Gardens states, "This is a cultivar with variegated leaves. Another cultivar with coral-red foliage is also called 'Bonfire'. Acer palmatum "Akaji nishiki," a name also used for a plant with coral-red leaves, does in fact not exist. The name 'Akaji nishiki' is used for a cultivar of A. truncatum with yellow variegated leaves. It is most likely that plants with coral red spring leaves called "Akaji nishiki" or "Bonfire" are in fact A. palmatum 'Segai' and that the true 'Bonfire' is a rather poor representative of Group 1c (Versicolor Group). we note that Harry Olsen does not agree with this interpretation."
How much of this is accurate is hard to say considering the mass mix up and renaming of plants.
I have come across a mature 'Bonfire' that meets the above description to some degree and fits the images shown in this book very closely. The leaves resemble kamagata and yuri hime to some degree, but the spring foliage is closer to that of 'katsura' or one of the yellow-orange cultivars than shin deshojo. The tree that I have observed is nearly 4 foot high, but about 7 or 8 foot wide with sparsely spreading branches. It is likely over 15 years old. I have propagated this tree to monitor it more closely, and it resembles the plant shown by yweride pretty closely. On a side note, I collected some seed from this tree and the offspring have been a bit unusual.
Here is a picture taken this past spring of the mature specimen:
Let me add a little more confusion to this thread. I've just purchased a 4 years old grafted plant which seems to fit the description quoted by Mattlwfowler. The pictures were taken today and they reflect the growing conditions at the nursery in Holland were it grew up. I will see next year how it behaves in my garden.