Favorite 5 Japanese Maple Cultivars

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Andre, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. Andre

    Andre Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Bordeaux, France
    I plan to buy these cultivars soon :

    Acer palmatum :
    • Arakawa
    • Beni chidori
    • Beni Hime
    • Beni kawa
    • Beni schichihenge
    • Chishio improved
    • Kamagata
    • Kashima
    • Mikawa Yatsubusa
    • Seigen
    • Shaïna
    • Tsuma gaki

    I have already :

    • Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'
    • Acer palmatum 'Butterfly'
    • Acer palmatum 'Deshojo'
    • Acer palmatum 'Katsura'
    • Acer palmatum 'Orange dream'
    • Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'
    • Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'
    • Acer palmatum 'Seyriu'

    Before I order, I'd like to know what are your favorite 5 Japanese Maple Cultivars so maybe I'll add it to my order ?

    Thank you
  2. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    Great choices, my list always changes. Currently, my top five are:

    5. Shishigashira: This tree is interesting in all seasons.
    4. Katsura: Beautiful orange/ red color this spring
    3. Shin Deshojo: Great spring color, mine has grown quite vigorous this season.
    2. Otome Zakura: Great spring and fall color.
    1. Koto no ito: I just love the way this tree has been performing in my garden.

    Good Luck with your trees.
    Pic 1 Otome Zakura Spring
    Pic 2 Katsura Spring


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2005
  3. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hello, André.

    Kasagi yama is beautiful, both the shape of the leaves and the color (red). Matsukaze is elegant, with bronze leaves in the spring, deep green, then red in the fall. The variegated kind is pretty amazing, with green, white and pink on the same leaf: I like best Oridono nishiki, or Karasu gawa. Mirte has a chocolate color in the spring, then deep green, then a beautiful orange - it's also a pretty strong grower, and probably tall and wide in the end. I saw japonicum vitifolium in Westonbirt: if you like big leaves, and a great red color: that could be something for you. Plus the palmatum itself: the leaves and fall color can be great.
    Good luck.
  4. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    I thought we did something like this before.
    I know it was popular in that "other" Maple
    forum (actually the GardenWeb forum is
    a pretty important online forum also).

    I'll throw out some quick suggestions
    which may not seem so obvious to most
    people or easy to find in some cases. The
    last Maple, listed just for the heck of it, is
    a don't even bother to ask where to find one.

    Palmate Green: Samidare, Beni osakazuki,
    Saoshika, Tobiosho (Iseli), Taihai, Ichigyoji

    Palmate Red: Nuresagi, Ezo nishiki, Yezo

    Deeply Divided Green: Shinonome, Nana segawa,
    Omurayama, Tsuri nishiki

    Deeply Divided Red: Azuma murasaki, Chitoseyama,
    Kinran, Masumurasaki, Sherwood Flame, Wou nishiki

    Dissectum Green: Germaine's Gyration (Iseli), Seiryu.
    Golden Seiryu (true form is very rare)

    Dissectum Red: Ruby Lace (Goddard's form),
    Ornatum, Otto's Dissectum, Takiniyama, Ever Red
    (had to include it as it is one of the most versatile
    for growing conditions), Beni shidare, Octopus

    Dissectum Variegated: Beni shidare tricolor, Ornatum
    variegated (true form), Silver Lace

    Dwarf Green: Kiyohime akame, Chiba, Beni kotohime,
    Hime tsuma gaki

    Dwarf Red: Beni yatsubusa (the old standard red dwarf),
    Otome zakura (the old form, not to be confused with the
    current semi-dwarf form which is not the same plant)

    Dwarf Variegated: Okukuji nishiki (true form is a dwarf)

    Semi-dwarf Green: Utsu semi, Tsuma beni (either
    Wada's or the Kobayashi forms), Tsuma gaki
    Shigarami (Wada form)

    Semi-dwarf Red: Bonfire (Kleim form), Seigai,
    Shindeshojo (Matsubara form), Shaina (true form

    Semi-dwarf Variegated: Oregon, Beni tsukasa, Beni
    hoshi, Chirimen nishiki, Tennyo no hoshi

    Linearilobum: Scolopendrifolium rubrum, Villa Taranto,
    Filifera purpurea

    Variegated: Kocho nishiki, Fujinami nishiki, Karasugawa
    (true form, found only in collections now it seems)

    Reticulated: Shigitatsu sawa (light form, almost a cream
    colored base with the green reticulation), Aka kasagiyama,
    Beni kasagiyama, Kasagiyama (true form, burgundy form)
    Reticulatum (true form, turns red in the Fall, has pink in it
    in the Spring), Peaches and Cream (light form, salmon pink
    colored in the Spring. Cleaner in color later on than the
    more commonly seen dark form, leaves are smaller in size

    Unusual: Ibo nishiki variegated (Domoto's form), Tokonatsu
    uchiwa nagashi, Tokiwa beni (Matsubara form), Crispifolium
    (the old Maple), Arakawa sho (Domoto's selected form of
    Arakawa), Aka shishigashira (actually is a red leafed form of
    Crispifolium, very rare in collections), Beni kogane kagawa
    (Domoto's pink striped cork bark, yellow (cream) on yellow
    variegated leaf)

    That'll do it for now. Gave me something fun to do for
    a few minutes. Hope the above stimulates some interest.

  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    I guess a quick note is in order. Aside from
    the unusual feature Maples shown above, most
    of the Maples I listed have been available in
    Europe and elsewhere at one time or another.
    Most all of the names of Maples I cited are
    old Maples. A few are more recent late 1980
    introductions. Most of these Maples have
    been propagated in Oregon, as one nursery in
    particular, aside from the unusual Maples of
    which several of them are only found in select
    collections, did have all but about 5 of them
    in the nursery in the mid to late 80's up to the
    present. I was not trying to fool people or to
    intimidate anyone. My sole intention was to
    enlighten that there are some old Maples that
    were and have been obtainable that have been
    around for a while that are still darn good
    plants to have. Another thing to consider
    which needs to be underscored is that many
    of these Maples have stood the test of time
    to which the "new" Maples so many people
    seem to want, have not been around long or
    grown in enough locations yet for us to know
    how they will hold up over time in comparison.

    Andre, every Maple you have interest in is
    worth having. Buy them all if you can.

  6. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Here are just a few--of course more than 5--I only included trees that I have grown.

    Beni hoshi
    Beni kumo-no-su
    Butterfly (Oregon)
    Edna Bergman
    Hoshi kuzu
    Oregon Sunset
    Oshu beni
    Ruby Ridge
    Shojo shidare
    Shigitatsu sawa
    Villa taranto

  7. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    Novato, California
    Like Will Rogers with people, I never met a maple I didn't like.
    I agree with all the above mentioned maples, but could not
    exclude from any list:

    Higasa yama
    red Red Filigree Lace
    red Trompenberg
  8. PlantMarker

    PlantMarker Member

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    North Carolina

    Jim -

    I am new to the UBC Forums community and relatively new to growing Japanese Maples. However, since my interest has grown in maples, I have immersed myself in learning more about them. In reading your posts, I have come to appreciate your knowledge of them.

    One thing I am curious about, though. With many cultivars that you list, I cannot find out anything about them.... not even with a Google search! Can you tell me how I may find out about many of the trees you mention above and, possibly, where I might turn to obtain them? I live in the heat and humidity of N.C.

    Also, I am curious about the specific forms you mention with certain cultivars above. How can I search for and obtain a particular form you mention, if that's what I desire?

    Thank you for your time.

  9. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Northern Ireland
    Mr Shep .... Mr Shep !!!!
    Five ... FIVE hehehehehe
    Jim just doesn't know how to count :)
    My favourites at the moment ( and they change all the time) are:
    Shirasamanum Aureum
    Is that five? yip. just counted them LOL
    Now ... I have another five if you are interested LOL
  10. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Seattle, WA
    I would not be able to list five favorites either, but what Jim apparently did was list five or more favorites for different 'categories' of Japanese maples with certain characteristics, which is actually helpful. If your local library does not have the following books, you would definitely enjoy spending some time at a book store or university library paging through the them. There is no doubt that either one or both may end up on your wish list.

    1) Vertrees,J.D., Japanese Maples 2nd Ed. (Timber Press 1987), which has the maples divided by grouping of characteristics; and
    2) Vertrees, J.D. and Peter Gregory, Japanese Maples 3rd Ed. (Timber Press 2001), which is a revised version, the maples listed in alphabetical order).

    It is written that we may come across some 800 different cultivars in our travels. There are some websites up at the top of the Maples forum under Links to Maple Resources. They often have photographs which do not come up in google image searches. Feel free to ask about certain cultivars after exploring these books, links to resources, and the search option here on the Forums.
  11. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Normandie, France
    Hi all,

    Great list, Andre! I will agree with other posters that Mirte and Villa Taranto are terrific trees. Mirte's color is unlike any other red cultivar I've seen. It leafs out quite pink. As the red darkens the veins are visible and golden, then it settles into a chocolate as Schusch describes. Mine doesn't go very green as it gets a lot of sun, but has green undertones especially on leaf undersides. Villa Taranto has a period in the spring where it is deep red on the outside new growth, with the inside leaves fresh green. It is positively sparkling in the sun.

    I also never met a maple I didn't like, so its hard to pick favorites. I notice we all have some of the same cultivars on our garden lists: Sango kaku, Osakazuki, Seiryu, Orange Dream, Shishigashira. As well I have Ariadne, Beni tsukasa, Okagami, Chitose yama, Trompenburg. I have just lost Higasa yama and Aka shigitatsu sawa. The former at least I will try again.

    I plan to grow Tsuma gaki at some point, and also Chishio improved. But most of my planting budget is going to other maple species right now. Next fall I hope to put in A. pictum, A. cappidocicum 'Rubrum' (for which I recieved the wrong plant this year), some pseudoplatanus cultivars, ginnala, and above all my "fetish" tree A. morrisonense (rubescens) 'Millicent'! Oh, and A. pectinatum. And diabolicum if I can find it. And, oh shoot. On it goes.

  12. PlantMarker

    PlantMarker Member

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    North Carolina
    Hi -

    Looking through Mr. Shep's extensive list, I have been trying to find out more information on the following cultivars. Can someone please tell me where I can find out more information on them (photos, descriptions, sources, etc.)

    They are:

    Ezo nishiki
    Golden Seiryu
    Ruby Lace (Goddard's Form) (What does this mean?)
    Beni shidare tricolor
    Kocho nishiki
    Fujinami nishiki
    Karasugawa (True Form???)
    Shigitatsu sawa (Light Form?)
    Peaches and Cream (Light Form?)

    Thanks for your time!

  13. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    you could look at the books listed on top of this forum: Maple Reference Books, most if not all are discussed therein.
  14. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Yes, the books that Laurie referenced do have some information about several
    of the Maples I listed. Also, the van Gelderen Maples of the World book tells of
    most of them as well. Some of the Maples I have referenced in other threads.
    Sources for these plants below will remain nameless.

    Nuresagi is an old Maple, has been around for a long time.

    Goddard's form of Ruby Lace has been around since the 70's. Ruby Lace that
    has been sold in Oregon is a lighter shaded rose-red selected form of Red Filigree
    Lace which is more of a black-red. Goddard's Ruby Lace has a leaf shape like
    Ornatum with Spring color like Crimson Queen that will hold that color well for
    us here with our heat. The second flush of new Spring growth and all
    successive new growth will be either red or orange-reds. Reminds of Garnet
    in the later Spring and Summer new growth but with a much more delicate and
    finely cut leaf.

    Kocho nishiki is an old Maple from Japan and is the parent plant of the true form
    Butterfly. When I list true form I mean it as most of the Butterfly we see available
    for sale is the Oregon Butterfly instead which came about as a branch sport from
    Kocho nishiki, not as a selected seedling at all.

    Ezo nishiki is a selected form out of Oregon that is also a red on red variegate in
    the Spring like Yezo nishiki is. Ezo nishiki is essentially a collection plant and
    first became available for sale in the late 80's by a specialized grower in Oregon.

    Shinonome is also an old Maple. Some of our newer Maples such as Johin are
    nothing more than a form of Shinonome. Sorry about the hybred talk but that
    is how I see it.

    Chitoseyama is one of my most favorite semi-dwarf form, deeply divided Maples.
    It has been around for a long while, since the 70's that I know of. I really like the
    color transitions this Maple goes through in a growing season here.

    The Golden Seiryu is still around as one of my better friends still has this Maple.
    Probably not ever mentioned in any book as it was selected out by Don Kleim
    at Henderson Experimental Gardens in the late 70's. There is no doubt it is a
    Seiryu but with much more cascade, shorter to the ground, bun shaped and
    much more spreading as opposed to the more upright weeper.

    Takiniyama is what most people have today that they bought as being as
    Tamukeyama. Tamukeyama is seldom seen any more.

    Beni shidare tricolor is a collection plant that has been sold as Beni shidare
    variegated for some time. Never was officially introduced into the nursery
    trade here in the US but has been offered for sale elsewhere. True form
    Beni shidare variegated, if we are lucky to ever see one, is one of the most
    beautiful of all the variegated Maples but unfortunately does not live long for
    us. Nothing compares to the Maples coloring in its final stages for the variety
    of colors we will see in the leaves. People talk about Goshiki with five colors
    that we seldom if ever see on the plant at one time. Beni shidare variegated
    can produce seven colors that we will see on the plant at one time. I would
    have listed it but it is not for everyone and should remain and a short-lived
    collection plant. Beni shidare tricolor is one my favorite of the green leafed
    variegated dissectums.

    Fujinami nishiki is a variegated Maple that can be seen at the Yano and Esveld
    web sites.

    Karasugawa is seldom seen any more. Many Maples have been sold as being
    this Maple but so few of them are the right plant. People that have had this
    Maple know that it does not produce much green in the leaf and has to be
    protected from hot afternoon sun and hot winds or the leaves will fry to a
    crisp. A problem plant in a way but what gorgeous Spring color. The Fall
    color on the late Summer growth can turn to be an iridescent lavender and
    lavender-pink in the Fall. I think the latter description pretty well proves
    people have not had this Maple.

    Shigitatasu sawa comes in two forms, the more common is the dark form in
    which the leaves start out a light color and then by Summer are a much
    darker green. The light form leafs out cream and green and then the cream
    will fade to a creamy white for much of the rest of the year. The Fall colors
    are intense golds. As the Maple's life span comes to a close, in the last
    three to five years the cream in the Spring will become an intense gold
    instead, gold like an 18 karat yellow gold, that intense and then the
    gold will turn to both gold and cream and stay that way until the Fall.

    Peaches and Cream light form differs from Peaches and Cream in that the
    leaves are much closer in their shape to Aka shigitatsu sawa than the dark
    form which has leaves closer to Reticulatum in their coloring and their shape.
    The Spring color of the light form go from a golden overtone with the reticulation
    to a lighter color like Aka shigitatsu sawa does and also has rose-pink colored
    tips to the lobes unlike the dark form. About 5 weeks of color and then the
    leaf starts to darken up and by Summer is practically the same color as the
    dark form. The light form has been described as being an Apricot in its
    Spring color.

  15. PlantMarker

    PlantMarker Member

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    North Carolina
    Mr. Shep -

    Thanks for your reply to my e-mail. Out of curiosity, why are the sources of the cultivars you mentioned to remain nameless? Are none of them available in the nursery trade?


  16. Jerry_Br

    Jerry_Br Member

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    The Karasugawa that mr.shep sounds very different than the one I had a few years back. I would be interested to see or hear more about this if you would not mind. I have been looking for a good source for this tree, now it sounds like I need to dig deeper.

    Please excuse me, I have not posted here in such a long time I forgot my old user name and started a new account. My mind is not what it once was.
  17. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Mr Shep-

    when you talk about the two forms of Shigitatasu sawa do you mean Aka and Beni shigitatasu sawa ?
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge here.
  18. PlantMarker

    PlantMarker Member

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    North Carolina
    Mr. Shep -

    I asked Esveld for help as to acquiring 'Fujinami nishiki' and 'Ori zuru.' I was told that there is a long-standing law banning the importation of variegated maples into the USA from The Netherlands.

    Can you tell me a source(s) for the aforementioned cultivars here in the USA or how I may go through the process of obtaining them? Apparently, Hines Nursery in Irvine, CA has been assigned the patent on 'Fujinami nishiki.'

    Thank you so much for your help.

  19. graftedmaplecollector

    graftedmaplecollector Active Member 10 Years

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    kasagi yama
    orange dream
  20. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    In order to understand the world of Maples it becomes
    a matter of knowing who is aligned with whom. Maples
    for years has forced the more avid collectors, major
    growers and prominent people in Maples to choose
    whose side they want to be on. Right now we have
    the side that chose to go their own path pretty much
    regulating what all is going on in Maples but many
    of the collection plants in the past are relatively
    unknown to them either from the fact that they never
    had the Maple to the more recent scheme of changing
    the name of the Maple around just to put their stamp
    on the plant to let others know that is their form and
    for obvious reasons to increase sales. When people
    do not know that Kasagiyama and Kasagi yama are
    the same plant the newer name has really only one
    real reason for coming about and that is to fool people.

    Some areas got caught up in someone else's game
    and now that people may want some of the old Maples
    by their common name as they were named in Japan
    they have to have sources in Japan or here in the US
    to get those named Maples. Fujinami nishiki came
    out of Japan, so it will require someone to know
    someone here that has a pipeline into Japan or in the
    "circle of purists" here in order to secure that Maple
    and Ori zuru.

    My help in such matters has clearly been proved in
    this forum to be of no significance whatsoever. Then
    when the time comes for people to want a particular
    Maple or information about it, who do they have to
    come to for help?

    We've had Fujinami nishiki in the collection before
    1982 that I know of, so this Maple has been around
    in the past. All you have to do is learn who in
    California or in Oregon now has a direct line to a
    certain Maple consortium in Japan to learn who
    the sourcing is for these two Maples there. I'll
    not divulge the names of the other side that does
    indeed have both Maples as part of their collection
    plants and are very selective in who will get any of
    them. This is part of the payback for what the
    intellectuals of the past did and have done to
    the growers, plant researchers and the plant
    purists in the Maple past.

  21. PlantMarker

    PlantMarker Member

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    North Carolina
  22. graftedmaplecollector

    graftedmaplecollector Active Member 10 Years

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    Not really.
  23. Paddy

    Paddy Member

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    It seems I have been blessed not to live in the USA .To many rules there it seems;And I cant understand how it is possible that someone can have a patent on a acer that is an older cultivar?

    Anyway here are my 5 best liked specimens (all plants are planted in good Belgian soil:-)!)

    * Peve Multicolor
    * Beni Kawa
    * Disectum Garnet
    * Felice
    * Ariadne and Higasa yama(true form)

    A friendly bonjour to all the nice people in this forum

    Patrick Louis
  24. PlantMarker

    PlantMarker Member

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    North Carolina
    Amusing, from a human sociological point of view.

    On a more basal level... sad.
  25. dawgie

    dawgie Active Member 10 Years

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    Raleigh, NC
    I've got about 20 Japanese maple varieties in my yard. Of those, my 5 favorites are:

    1. Autumn Moon -- Unusual leaf shape and coloration, throughout the growing season.
    2. Red Dragon -- Best red dissectum in my view.
    3. Koto no ito -- Like a miniature weeping willow.
    4. Acontifolium -- Large lacy leafs, spectacular fall color.
    5. Shin de shogo -- Spectacular early spring and fall color, unusual coloration in summer.

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