Difference between Seigai and Bonfire? Seigen? Akaji nishiki?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesmagpie, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    This has been touched on in several threads, many of which I linked in my previous thread about a mislabeled "Corallinum" cultivar. (http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=86160)

    I'm starting a new thread in the hopes that people with knowledge of these cultivars will see the title and share what they know. I've read multiple mentions in this forum of Seigai and Bonfire being different cultivars, Akaji nishiki too, even though Vertrees says they're all the same. I'm not sure I can ever know what I have, but I'd like to narrow it down if possible, and in the process learn more about three or four cultivars that seem to be pretty mixed up in the JM trade.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I started reading here about Seigai and Bonfire, which linked to other articles where Mr. Shep and mjh1676 discussed the confusion and the differences between Seigai, Akaji nishiki and Bonfire.

    Seigai thread: http://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/threads/acer-palmatum-seigai.12830/

    Bonfire thread: http://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/threads/acer-palmatum-bonfire.9538/

    Discussion of Seigai/Bonfire confusion: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=12830

    In this thread, Mr. Shep describes the three different trees: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=11122

    Unfortunately he doesn't put a name to each tree he describes. Based on what mjh1676 said in the Bonfire thread (post #9), I'm guessing the tall one Mr. Shep describes is Akaji nishiki. To add to the confusion, there seem to be some forms of these trees with a yellow-orange cast.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  2. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    The tree I'm trying to identify is new to me this year and sold as 'Corallinum.' The mother tree was described this way:

    To complicate matters, the photos of the Corallinum leaves on the Buccholz website (Buchholz & Buchholz Wholesale Nursery | Our Plants | Acer palmatum 'Corallinum' (Corallinum Japanese Maple)) look different than the leaves on the Topiary Garden website (CORALLINUM-2g acer palmatum corallinum [palmatum-green] - $35.00 : Zen Cart!, The Art of E-commerce). Both seem to be somewhat different than what Vertrees describes, and what I've seen in another Corallinum I own. If you do google image searches, you'll see some nurseries say they're different cultivars, some say they're the same, and many sell trees that look different than the cultivar of the same name on other nursery websites. It's very confusing.

    Here are pictures of my young tree. Is it a Seigai? A Bonfire? Possibly a Seigen? I'm too new at this to have anything more than a guess, despite all my google image work and amateur sleuthing. If you know these cultivars, could you chime in?

    Photo dates, here in 5b, are May 11, May 27, May 27, and June 19:
     

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    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  3. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I have photos of my mystery cultivar (same as the above post) from the past week, with photos of it turning to its fall color, as well as at its peak. New leaves are more lance-shaped, and are turning red later. They are the same size as the older leaves.

    Any thoughts on what cultivar this is?
     

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  4. blake

    blake Active Member 10 Years

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    Have you searched Buchholz's blog for Corallinum? I'm going from memory here but I seem to recall mention that his came from Hillier. If so, safe to assume it's the same as the photos/description in the Vertrees books. If the provenance of yours is Buchholz's tree then barring any human error along the way then that's probably what you have.
     
  5. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Thank you for your reply! This confusion is still taking up a considerable amount of mental space, so I'm thankful for anyone who chimes in.

    I think there is almost certainly human error involved. I went online and did a search for leaf photos of the original specimen at Hillier, and my tree looks different. It's almost certainly in the Corallinum group, but I don't know that I'll ever know which cultivar.
     
  6. ErinCrates

    ErinCrates Member

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    They're both very similar aren't they. I think one of them seems to have a darker reddish color than the other and one comes into season sooner.
     
  7. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I'm still very confused about them, honestly. I know I have a tree that's from the Corallinum group, but beyond that I really can't say. I found Vertree's 2nd edition helpful in a way-- at least there are the Corallinum group maples are compared and contrasted. Still, he groups Akaji nishiki, Bonfire, and Seigai together as one cultivar.

    Based on his description, I am considering Akaji nishiki (because newer leaves are larger than old leaves by about a cm) and because of its bronze-green summer coloration. Vertrees says his Akaji nishiki/Bonfire/Seigai has 5 lobes, but in the photo he has you can clearly see seven on some of the leaves. The tree I have may also be Chishio. He describes Chishio as having slightly larger leaves, the lobes being more divided, having leaves with 5 or 7 lobes (my tree has both), and slightly more orange.

    I don't know if I was sent an incorrectly labelled tree, or if some nurseries are propagating and selling this incorrect cultivar of Corallinum. All I know is I don't have a Hillier Corallinum. It's frustrating, because I have it in a key area and would really prefer to know what its size and growth pattern will be. I'm thinking of digging it up this spring and putting it in a pot, just to watch it for a while. I'd rather have a known tree in that space.

    From this point on I'll just be treating it as an unknown Corallinum-group seedling.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  8. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I found this quote interesting:

    My tree is definitely growing taller than you'd expect from a dwarf, so I'm guessing it's not Bonfire, but possibly Akaji nishiki. The Seigai picture on page 136 of Vertree's 2nd edition does have a darker-green leafed plant that looks like my plant's new growth. Sort of. I'm too much of a novice to figure all of this out, I'm afraid. It's an interesting puzzle and I wish someone with several of these cultivars would chime in. :)
     
  9. garcan

    garcan Active Member 10 Years

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    The images of you posted for your plant look very similar to my 'Corallinium'. However, our plants likely originated from the same source: Buchholz Nursery.
    My 'Bonfire' is more than 25 years old and does not look like my 'Corallinium' at all. You can see it here: Garden Canadensis | Acer palmatum ‘Bonfire’.
    I don't have any image of my young 'Corallinium'.
     
  10. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    garcan, funny you should post. I was just looking through photos on your website last night. :)

    I'm not sure anything I've seen in the US is the true Hillier's Corallinum, but I'm a novice. Their description:

    My plant is certainly not shrimp-pink, nor are the leaves less than one inch, nor does it change to a pale mottled green by midsummer. It's a very dark green. And yes, it's supposed to have come from Buchholz (through another nursery).

    I posted some photos of the Hillier Corallinum at the end of the UBC Corallinum photo thread: Acer palmatum 'Corallinum'

    How do your leaves compare to those?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  11. garcan

    garcan Active Member 10 Years

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    Looking back into my picture records, I do have a few pic of my 'Corallinium'; very poor quality pic though. I posted them on my website for you to look at: Garden Canadensis | Acer palmatum ‘Corallinium’
    After comparing my pic with the Hillier Corallinium pic you posted, I believe our plants are indeed Corallinium, bear in mind that maple leaf colour of the same plant vary significantly depending on the spring temperature and conditions etc.
     
  12. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Thanks for posting your photos.

    Are the majority of your tree's leaves less than 1 inch long? Mine aren't. Mine are much closer to 2" long. And the summer color never approached a pale green. We'll see how it looks this summer.
     
  13. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Interesting... while doing more reading and research tonight, I found this old blog entry from Talon Buchholz:

    Flora Wonder Blog: August 2013
     
  14. garcan

    garcan Active Member 10 Years

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    I completely disagree with that observation. I consider 'Bonfire' one of the most ornamental maples I have with very showy and interesting spring foliage. My 'Wilson's pink', on the other hand is just another one of those hastily selected cultivar with very brief show of nice pink/red in spring. Even though it is more red than 'Bonfire', it is simply not in the same class as the Bonfire for my garden. (But who am I to dispute Buchholz.!)
    During the last brutal winter (practically Zone 4 winter)with prolonged extreme cold temperature. Both my Bonfire and Wilson Pink suffered severe damage especially the 'Wilson's Pink'. I thought my 'Wilson's Pink' is completely dead, but it appeared to send new shoots up above its graft line by the summer. I suspect it is also less hardy than 'Bonfire' and many other Acer palmatum.
     
  15. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I wonder if I have another cultivar to consider? I've been reading Maples for Gardens in detail, and there is a lesser-known cultivar she mentions as being often confused with Corallinum. It's Yamashiro. She describes the color as being similar, but the leaf shape is more like Kamagata (yes!). The coloring on the Malliot site is also the same in summer, but in my yard it was more red-orange in fall (it was in almost full-day sun, however).

    Acer palmatum YAMASHIRO from Maillot-Erable - The store MAILLOT-ERABLE

    I'd never heard of Yamashiro and Vertrees only mentions it in the index of undescribed cultivars. There are a few photos and descriptions online, however, and it seems a much closer match (in terms of color and leaf shape) than the Hillier Corallinum.

    The other cultivar I'm considering is just plain ol' Chishio. The leaf size, as well as the darker green leaf during the summer, would match. And like my tree, the Chishio pictures I've seen show more deeply-serrated margins on new growth especially. Of course, it may all turn out this is a propagated seedling. It will probably always be a mystery, but I do enjoy a good riddle. It will be fun to see it go through another season. Perhaps I'll get additional clues.

    my corallinum.JPG Kamagata leaf shape.jpg Yamashiro facebook.jpg Yamashiro.jpg maillot-bonsai_1-1128 yamashiro.jpg my corallinum 2.JPG

    Photos: My leaf, a Kamagata leaf, Yamashiro leaves in spring (2), Yamashiro in summer, my leaf
     
  16. garcan

    garcan Active Member 10 Years

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    My Shin chishio generally has bigger leaf size than my Corallinum. However, I have not paid much attention to detailed leaf size comparison. I admire your attention to details on identification. In many cases, even the best of experts cannot identify conclusively. Good luck and have fun.
     
  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sometimes it can take as many as five years of seeing the red palmatum type plants everyday to better pinpoint what the Maple is or isn't.

    From my own personal observation a lot of people are growing these plants now but few of them will be able to know what the Maple is here when they see one in the landscape. It is hard to understand just how this can happen unless you have been there. I remember being in the nursery in the morning and being in Oregon ten hours later and comparing the red dissectum leaves I brought with me and compared them to the grafted trees I saw in Roseburg, Pleasant Hill and Gresham all in one day. All things being equal the trees in Oregon do not look exact to ours during times of the year. Why I brought the leaves to compare was so I can take what I felt were typical leaves and see if I could find some on the other same named Maples that might not be the same color as the Maples I saw in the morning in the nursery. The red dissectums have always been the hardest for me to know elsewhere so I did what I felt I needed to, to better understand what was going on in Oregon.

    Another thing that in time does make a difference is that our red dissectums were always grafted onto seedling matsumurae from seed gathered from parent plants in the nursery. In Oregon most of the seedlings to be grafted on are amoenum and they were not grown on site from parent trees in those nurseries. Thus, there is no reasonable way to know which parent plants those seedlings came from. It does matter over time what color seedling were used (red, green or variegated) and whether it was a palmatum, amoenum or matsumurae for the red dissectums. Probably more important for the red dissectums more so than any other leaf form, other than the linearilobum group which includes the scolopendrifoliums and the linearifoliums.

    Here are the likely choices for your Maple: Deshojo, Kondeshojo, Ima deshojo, Shindeshojo, Corallinum, Akaji nishiki, Bonfire, Chishio, Chishio improved, Shishio, Shishio improved, Tsukasa, Seigai, Seigen, Mosen, Masukagami and Masukaga.
    Some people may also include
    Beni maiko and Ryuzu in this grouping as well.
    How many people in Maples today have grown all of these plants? Who really has any knowledge of them all and who all has seen all of them to have some idea as to their differences, sometimes just subtle differences at times of the year?
    Okay, your Maple is probably one of them and how many people in the world can tell you with certainty what your Maple is at this time? No one can is the answer. Give people time by seeing photos of your Maple at various stages of growth during the growing season. Then perhaps someone growing the plant will chime in and tell you what they think your Maple might be or is. Until then, based on what little we know any suggestion is just a guess. People may guess right but may have no idea why the Maple is that compared to the others. For years Corallinum was sold in Oregon and people knew it was not the same plant as Hillier's. What Maple was it was seldom ever even contemplated. Even Shindeshojo from Japan does not look the same as the Oregon form Shindeshojo! It can be argued that the Oregon Shindeshojo is not a Shindeshojo at all in some nurseries.

    Jim
     
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  18. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Thank you, Jim. Your measured, patient approach to ID is something that's taken a while for me to accept, but now I think it's the best approach. I'll try to think of it as a years'-long mystery novel, and enjoy the time spent contemplating. Thank you for your guidance, expertise, and opinions!
     
  19. blake

    blake Active Member 10 Years

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    I enjoy returning to this puzzle from time to time.

    Random side comment, there seems to be some consistency between garcan’s Bonfire, the one Amazingmaples has posted at the end of the Bonfire thread, and the Bonfire photo by Harry Olson in one of the van Gelderen books. In the spring, the combination of color and the way the leaves cup upward seems somewhat unique to me versus a few of the others on the list that I have seen.

    Hi Jim, very nice to see you posting. I hope this note finds you well!
     
  20. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Here are new spring photos of my mystery cultivar. Anyone see something familiar in these?

    First photo is May 16, second two photos are May 12. Taken on cloudy days, no contrast or image adjustments. The tree gets sun from 8am to 3pm. Older/lower bark is greenish, but the two whips that grew out last summer where I trimmed the plant back are pinkish in color.
     

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  21. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Tell me more of the bark and wood color and for how long during the growing season the color holds? Did the trunk color up at all during the Winter? It is always helpful to post a photo of the entire tree.

    Jim
     
  22. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for asking! My memory says these colors were there over the winter (green old growth, pink/blush new growth), but that the two upper whips have been consistently darker red than the slower growth branches off the main (green) trunk. Last summer the trunk and branch colors looked like they do now. Green/pink-red. New growth branches over the summer were more of a blush color, darkening as the wood hardened. I went out and took additional photos just now. Again, shaded but no photo adjustments.

    Do you see any value in letting the whips bud out (ID-wise)? Otherwise I'd like to trim them off. I much prefer the shape of the lower part of the tree, and would like to see those branches put on more growth.
     

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  23. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you want to prune the new growth now to better shape the tree, then by all means do.
    For you in that zone, now is the time to snip or pinch the new growth back if that is what you want. Should not impact who can identify your Maple later on.

    Jim
     
  24. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    I posted photos of this in the other Corallinum thread, but I should have posted them here. These photos take you in order from May 12 (budding out) to June 3 (starting to shift to the summer dark/army green).
     

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  25. maplesmagpie

    maplesmagpie Active Member

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    Here are some summer photos, showing the new growth and how the bright red color of the new growth changes into a peachier color in August. It's growing like mad... the new growth this year on each branch is easily 18" long, sometimes longer. It's gotten so long that in the rain the branches droop toward the ground. In these photos you can see how the new leaves are extremely pointy and have narrower lobes.

    Does this look familiar to anyone?
     

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