Acer palmatum 'Sherwood Flame'

Discussion in 'Maples' started by DeZwaan Nurseries, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. DeZwaan Nurseries

    DeZwaan Nurseries Member

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    Pitt Meadows, BC, Canada
    Does anyone have any pictures of Acer palmatum 'Sherwood Flame'?
    Is it the same as Acer palmatum 'Burgundy Lace'?
  2. plantoid

    plantoid Active Member

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    California, USA, near Oakland / San Francisco
    This is an old thread.

    I bought this Sherwood Flame one month ago and planted it 2 to 3 weeks ago. Its grower was Iseli nursery. The closeup of the foliage shows that it is not as deeply cut and dissected as foliage of Sherwood Flame I've seen elsewhere on the Internet. So, I'm kind of suspicious whether it's really a Sherwood Flame. I went back to the nursery where I bought it from and they had three other SFs. Everyone of them had the same leaf shape as mine. I also visited another nearby nursery and they had two Sherwood Flames grown by Iseli and again the leaf shape on them was identical to mine. So I am very baffled. Is it a mislabeled plant? I hope not because Iseli is a big grower. Regardless what it is, I love this tree because it's got such great color considering that my locale is not conducive to producing bright red fall foliage on Japanese maples because our autumns are not usually cold enough.

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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  3. plantoid

    plantoid Active Member

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    California, USA, near Oakland / San Francisco
    a few more pictures showing the color and shape

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  4. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southwest France
    What is the true 'Sherwood Flame'?, the standard reference books show a deeply cut leaf. Mine, shown in the attached pic, is similar to the pictures in the books. I guess this is all that can be said without having access to the original plant selection for confirmation.


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  5. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    This is a close up of a leaf of our tree. (That is, if it is accurately named!)

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  6. plantoid

    plantoid Active Member

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    California, USA, near Oakland / San Francisco
    It's interesting your SF is so shrubby looking. Descriptions of SF on several websites describe its stature as upright and the foliage as relatively sparse between the layers so as not to require much pruning.

    An example is here:


  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Don Kleim had 35 plus year old Sherwood
    Flame in his nursery back in 1990. This
    fact predates the Curtis attribution of this
    Maple being named in 1970 by a few years.

    As far as I know the dozen or so stock
    plants of Sherwood Flame at Henderson
    Experimental Gardens, all on their own
    roots [never had been grafted] are still
    onsite. Wood was taken from these
    trees only and were generally but not
    all the time grafted onto red seedling
    rootstock. The plant I have posted
    photos of in this forum is one of the
    original grafted plants from this nursery.

    From the photos I have posted and the
    photo from the Iseli web site, clearly
    shows the same coloration in our two
    trees. Gomero's plant is right there
    for color as well from his photo.

    Based on the color of the Maple in
    question I see no real reason why
    a Maple residing in the "East Bay"
    let's say from Richmond to the North
    down to Hayward, cannot turn a richer
    Fall color than we see from our trees
    in and around Fresno. Woodside on
    the West Bay as well as Palo Alto
    do see good Fall color from their
    red palmatum type Maples in most
    years. Around Dublin is not a real
    non Fall color factor either but living
    in Livermore, with more soil salinity
    and warmer daytime temperatures,
    may impact these plants somewhat
    from a Fall color standpoint.

    It is not so much the shapes of the
    leaves that have me puzzled, it is
    the color of the leaves showing a
    rose pink coloration that concerns
    me the most for this Maple being
    a Sherwood Flame. Iseli nursery
    is pretty good about not mixing
    up their labels on their Maples,
    so if a group of Maples all look
    like yours, with the same color,
    then I am not sure what to say.

    There are other factors that can
    influence the color of these trees
    other than night time and morning
    low temperatures. I'll go back to
    mentioning light again and say
    that a tree in full sun usually but
    not always is more likely to show
    better Fall color than one will
    when placed or grown in shade.
    A lot is also determined by the
    age of the tree as well. Then
    we have the nutrient issue in
    that a late Summer dose of
    Nitrogen can impact Fall color.
    We can get some allover false
    color once gel caps such as
    Osmocote or other time release
    fertilizers break open and
    release their materials. We
    can get a masking affect from
    it in that certain nutrients applied
    late in the season can enable
    the plant to show more pink in
    color than what we would normally
    see. The old Aluminum sulfate
    trick on Hydrangeas is not endemic
    just for those plants to force a
    change in the overall color of
    the plant. In Maples we see
    more subtle color changes
    but we can induce a softening
    of the red color by applying
    nutrients to our plants late
    in the growing season.

    Sherwood Flame is a willowy
    upright tree in that it wants
    to grow tall at first and then
    spread, almost to the point
    of having the lower lateral
    shoots cascade a little as
    seen from around the entire
    tree. Burgundy Lace does
    not grow as tall or as fast as
    Sherwood Flame. Sherwood
    Flame is a much more vigorous
    growing plant while it is young
    all through its juvenile years than
    Burgundy Lace is. The problem
    here is that many of the current
    day Burgundy Lace are not quite
    what the old Maple was in that
    it has been speculated that the
    nurseries still selling Burgundy
    Lace are selling a more compact
    seedling than the old Maple was.
    A true form Burgundy Lace is
    not so easy to find any more
    as this Maple did have some
    real issues with dieback from
    alboatrum and with the advent
    of Tight Bark in the plants system,
    almost wiped this Maple out in
    the nursery trade. What used
    to be a very popular Maple was
    not seen in its old form for many
    years, although still sold by that
    name in retail nurseries, was not
    the same plant as the old Maple
    was. For one thing the lobes were
    much wider than the old plants
    were. Also, the newer form of
    Burgundy Lace does not grow
    as tall as the old form will in
    most locations. Not sure why
    this is but the newer plant may
    only get up to half the height of
    the old plant. We are essentially
    talking about a Maple that was
    around 12-15 feet at maturity
    years ago to the nursery industry
    Maple, around here, now being
    around 6-9 feet tall at maturity.
    The newer form Burgundy Lace
    is a much more compact growing
    plant than the old form Maple was.
    The main difference in the two
    Burgundy Lace other than life
    expectancy is that the newer
    form does a whole lot better in
    a landscape than the older Maple.
    The newer tree is more versatile
    and can better adapt itself to
    more growing conditions than
    the older form did. The old
    Burgundy Lace was a fussy
    plant to grow for many people
    but where it grew well, it was
    a real charmer for a red Maple.
    Another thing to mention is that
    we do not see the lobes shrink
    down in size nearly as much
    after the Spring leaf out in the
    new Maple than we saw in the
    old Burgundy Lace. Those
    Spring leaves could have a
    narrowing of the lobes easily
    shrunk down to half in size by
    Summer in width than they
    were in the Spring. The newer
    form or perhaps other seedling
    forms only shrinks down in size
    after the mid to late Summer
    new growth.

    Forgot to mention that the
    older growth on the old form
    Burgundy Lace will show
    some twisting to the side
    lobes, not so much seen
    as pronounced from the
    basal lobes however and
    seldom seen at all in the
    central lobes.

    Let’s wait for the Spring
    photos and see if we are
    in the ballpark for this
    Maple being a Sherwood
    Flame and then see the
    Summer leaf color and
    the Fall color next year.

  8. plantoid

    plantoid Active Member

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    California, USA, near Oakland / San Francisco
    I will address several points in your reply.

    I live in Castro Valley, which adjoins Hayward and San Leandro. Japanese maples are very common in my neighborhood and none of my neighbors' for several blocks around turned even remotely carmine red this year. My neighbors' J. maples are all either dark burgundy or green. Our water has very high hardness and dissolved solids. It tastes slightly salty, too. Are these factors in not bringing good fall color? When I bought my Sherwood Flame from East Bay Nursery in Berkeley on Oct. 17, it was at the beginning orange/red stage with minor amounts of green blended in. I didn't know a thing about J. maples when I bought it, but I liked it because it was the most orange/red tree in the whole nursery at that time of the year. When I took the pictures around November 12, the tree looked much redder than it did on Oct. 17. Now on Nov. 18, it's even brighter red than on Nov. 12, but the leaves are beginning to shrivel or drop. Because the tree was delivered from Berkeley to my home in Castro Valley around Nov. 1, its redness can not be attributed to growing conditions in Castro Valley. At East Bay Nursery, the three other Sherwood Flames I saw there on Nov. 7 were mostly green, with slight shadings of yellow or orange and rosy color here and there, but no bright redness anywhere. All their Bloodgoods were bright red, as were all their Twombly's Red Sentinels. One Fireglow they had was bright red; the other was still dark burgundy. I was told the 2 Fireglows were delivered from different locations several months earlier. Their only Osakazuki was still completely green on Nov. 7. They had others, but their names escape me at this time, but these were the ones that stuck out.

    The "other nursery" that I mentioned where I saw Sherwood Flames was Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park. They had two 11-ft tall S.F. which were pale rosy pink instead of red, like the rosy red in the pictures I posted, but slightly more pale. Probably they turned redder now, I don't know. They had been at Roger Reynolds since April and were grown in full sun the whole time. At that same time around Nov. 1, my tree was already much deeper red all over the tree.

    I agree I should wait until next spring to take more pictures and post them here to solve this mystery.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Purple-leaved cultivars of other kinds of trees such as plums also vary with site conditions.

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