Official Japanese Maple Classification of the Maple Society

Discussion in 'Maples' started by emery, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. emery

    emery Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Announcing the Official Japanese Maple Cultivar Classification of the Maple Society, by Cor van Gelderen!

    The large and ever increasing number of Japanese Maple cultivars can sometimes cause confusion for the consumer, who may not always know what to expect from a given plant. The Japanese Maple Classification helps manage the situation by dividing the maples into seventeen distinct groups. By referencing the group the buyer can quickly form a basic impression of the plant’s characteristics.

    For example, Acer ‘Kiri nishiki’ (Dissectum Group) or Acer ‘Japanese Sunrise’ (Red Wood Group) gives a buyer an immediate idea about what sort of landscape plants they are considering.

    As above, some nurseries may choose to leave off the species name altogether. This avoids further confusion regarding the frequent hybridization of these maples.

    In addition to the Classification there is a short vegetative key to allow placing each Japanese Maple cultivar in the appropriate group.

    Cor van Gelderen, owner of the famous Plantentuin Esveld in Boskoop, The Netherlands, and curator of one of the world’s great maple collections, began working on the Classification in 2014, building in part on the work of distinguished nurseryman Benoit Choteau. Cor’s classification was accepted by The Maple Society during the 2017 Maple Symposium in Roscoff, France. It has been published in the annual magazine Dendroflora by the Royal Boskoop Horticultural Society (KVBC) in cooperation with the Dutch Dendrology Society and will form the basis for the revision of names in the List of Woody Plants.

    Both the Classification and Key can be found here: The Official Japanese Maple Classification of the Maple Society | The Maple Society
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  2. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    @emery, I assume this is different from Key to Acer, 2018, de Langhe & Crowley, to which we have a link on the Maple Resources - Online page.
    Does this Cor van Gelderen work replace the de Langhe & Crowley work? Or should the resource page have both listed? Do you want to change anything in the Key to Acer blurb? Do you want either to reference the other?
    And this Official document, do you want it listed under "O", or would you want to give it a different name for the resource page?
     
  3. emery

    emery Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Wendy, this is unrelated, it's a classification of Japanese Maple cultivars only. Further it's not taxonomical, really just a new take on the idea of JM groups to facilitate an understanding of what cultivars are going to basically look like.

    So the resource page should list both, thanks.

    Somehow I managed to leave the word "cultivar" out of the entire blurb (clever, what?) so I guess it should be listed as "Japanese Maple Cultivar Classification."

    cheers, -E
     
  4. JT1

    JT1 Rising Contributor

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    This makes me laugh out loud!

    Not in a mean or insulting way...I just don't think 17 categories makes it any simpler for the average consumer or anyone.

    This will only intimidate the average consumer. This new classification only provides someone really into Japanese maples with additional information to impress their peers. Or make someone else feel inferior for "not being in the know". Or even FOMO as I think the kids say.

    The new system could really complicate things. For example:

    Correctly tagged cultivars are already a problem in the industry. Now I can see a chance for more confused cultivars, when several different cultivars show up at the garden center tagged as "Red bark group"....oh no!!! I mean Red wood??group? Red wood, that's still a conifer right? This after "Coral bark" has already caught on even with average consumers? Coral bark covers red, yellow, and everything in between. Also leaving out palmatum may open up confusion with Acer circinatum 'Pacific Fire' for example, being inciuded with "red wood" tags at a garden center or nursery.

    To clarify to the average consumer out there: the bark is red, the wood certainly is not! Confused yet...Well let's forget that a yellow bark cultivar exist too... But is that going into "red bark" group too? Oh boy, this is pretty confusing!

    I can see just how easily all this new classification can be confused, I mean simplified, I think? Really?!?

    In my opinion, if it counts.

    Don't over complicate things. If the goal is to make things easier for the average consumer, then use a focus group of growers, retailers, and most importantly consumers. Some really smart and experienced people put some time into this new classification (It's also possible that red wood vs red bark maybe a translation issue). I think it can be simplified or impoved by using the less experienced consumer to give feedback on what addresses their needs or challenges when trying to sort out and understand cultivars when shopping. A focus group using consumers with a variety of experience is key, so that you come up with a solution that works for all experience levels or at least makes sense for the average. Don't have the resources for a focus group, then use a variety of members with a variety of knowledge and experience to improve the classification. The mistake is made when you get a group of "experts" to come up with something "simple". Experience tells me they tend to over complicate things and the end result is not easy for the end user/consumer. When this is done you just add another layer of confusion and open up opportunities for mistakes to be made.

    If you want things to be simple and less confusing use terms already familiar with consumers like "coral bark". Red bark (ops..I meant Red Wood) is a new term to consumers and it's very limited when considering the variety of coral bark colors of Acer palmatum like red, pink, green (Aoyagi), yellow ( bi hoo aka bihou) and everything in between.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
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