Premature offering of tentatively named palmatum varieties

Discussion in 'Maples' started by mjh1676, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    If you follow this link and then scroll down the page you will run into a section of summer sale "collectible" plants:

    The two offered are:

    Acer palmatum 'Ed Carman'
    Acer japonicum 'Shuriken'

    Please don't mistake my creation of this thread as a means to start trouble or speak down about World Plants as that is not the issue. I think they offer suitable plants at very good prices. My issue is that the climate today in maples make it acceptable to offer two plants for sale that have pending names--and then to call them collectible.

    I also won't criticize the plants, although I have some strong feelngs, especially about the japonicum, but I will take issue that they have been named at all and are being sold in a transitional state, before evaluation is complete or even begun.

    Of course the monetary value lies in that someone will pay money for them, but these are just two more in a long line of plants that are finding names and then national distribution. Look on this site and a popular auction site and find two plants labled Acer palmatum 'Bob's Big Green' and 'Green Flag'. And those are just two that come to mind. I have also seen a Shirasawanum called 'Garden Glory' being offered on the web, apparantly unique because it has a red petiole.

    I know of any number of people that will buy up the plants above, propagate them and then perpetuate a maple that possibly has not business being sold before it has even been evaluated. Dilution occurs not only within a given variety, but is happening with maples as a whole as new unregulated introductions are made, and made on national scale due to the net. When will someone step in? Who's job is it?

    If I am off in left field, someone please let me know. Best case secenario is that a few people buy the limited plants as collectibles and they are never offered again--until the scion wood is sold for its name. Independent introcuctions that are not evaluated or proven should be made between friends and collectors and not offered for sale until uniquess and longevity are proven.

  2. neko musume

    neko musume Active Member 10 Years

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    los angeles, ca
    I think the best way to combat this sort of "enthusiasm", in selling "new cultivars", is to do what you are doing, by educating as many people as possible, and making them aware of the relatively short history of these varieties.

    There is nothing wrong in wanting something new, but it would be a shame if uninformed purchases lead to disappointment and to a subsequently unfair, waning interest in the established cultivars.


    n. musume
  3. Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hoschton, Ga Z7
    Hey Mike
    Your are not in left field, but right on target.
    This is a topic which needs to be brought up for educating us, the maple loving communuty.
    I know of someone whos church did some work in Japan 20 years ago. The town from Japan sent over a japanese maple tree thanking them. Well he has grafted it for sentemental reasons so he has his own copy at home. Nothing special about the tree as far as a new introduction would go. Well after letting some scion source out with friends it ended up at a grafter we know, and know is in the selling list with the name being the churches name. This lesson quickly show how it can get out of hand without some control. I have numerous seedlings and plan on growing out. One day i can imagine sharing scions with you. But this would be between friends who understand the difference between trees we are evaluating, and named cultivars.

    I wish some of the more experienced could offer more information, but it seems like the registration process is defunct. If not, i wish we could make it more visible and try and push it. I think others that have experience with maples and other ornamental plants can tell you stories of how complex this issue is.

    It would be great if at least for our own purposes we could start some sort of organization of it. Maybe we could set up over the years where we evaluate among ourselves. We allready have a good start with the pictures forum. Maybe we could come up with a standard for pictures. One from each season, closeups, form, etc. We could eventually trade scions and evaluate at different parts of the world. Eventually we could try and get some support from the maple society, even if it is just from a recognizing standpoint. Some of these newer varieties we could seperate out in a evaluate pattern, until mature specimens could be evaluated. In the picture forum we coudl designate cultivars that havent been around long enouhg to evaluate some way. Other more older cultivars could be evaluated now, since many out there have mature specimens. I think Jim and others, propably have access to hundreds in collections he knows about. If we could get a photo standard for cultivars, we could have an online resource. We could then try and work with nurseries aorund the world. I have emailed Esveld and he seemed to be interested in helping the community as long as it was non-profit. As we all know they have a great online resource of pictures.

    Since i love growing maples, i wish there was a better resources for them. The 'Dr Seuss' Cultivar discussed in another thread is a good example. I have never seen it anywhere, except for the nursery where i got it. Who knows its characteristics, where it came from, etc. Is it just a graft from something someone found last year, or ten years ago. Is there a mature tree somewhere? Well with a online database, we could at least start the evaluation process, and eventually determine for ourseleves in a few years, or possibly someone with a more mature specimen could find us and helpo with information. It woudl give a place to start, that maybe would become the defacto standard place to look.

    We can have a check mark by each cultivar, Mr Shep Approved, LOL. I joke with Jim, but actually he and others in this forum have years of experience and access to trees from all over. With there experience and knowledge, we might just create a great online resource.

    I have allready done things like extracting the Appendix from 'Japanese Maples' into a database to help with my own documenting. One thing i find lacking is more specific pictures. That is where i see a big need. Descriptions help, but pictures are worth a thousand words. I have allready mentioned to Daniel the possibility of being able to sort the cultivars by name in the pictures forum. He mentioned upcoming software changes that might help this. I think if we came up with a good idea, Daniel might be able to help us to use this forum. Or we could create our own. Since i do programming, i woudlnt mind working on that end.

    I would love to hear if others in the community have ideas.

    Thanks for bringing up the subject,
    Mike Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    PS i buy from the online vendor you mentioned with the last two cultivars. I had a big order form him this year, so i threw those two in. LOL.
  4. PoorOwner

    PoorOwner Active Member 10 Years

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    Northern CA
    Well, what/who is the organization to name and regulate and accept new cultivar introduction? How does one introduce a new tree?

    I am sure the vendor above has been monitoring those 2 trees, and they find uniqueness to it than other cultivars, but I think they should have worded it better as being a unique seedling and not to give the impression that this is a for sure new cultivar.

    I agree with your thoughts about the database of JMs getting diluted or polluted this way, but if they are selling a tree that has characteristics unlike others, IMO it might have collectable value to a collector. Perhaps there is better way to introduce new trees where the introducing nursery would be recognized, etc.
  5. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Thanks to those of you who are responding--as you might guess, I have a great deal to say about this topic, but I hold back as I feel much of it is not positive. It is hard for me to talk from one side of my mouth and say I am not attacking the nursery and from the other side say I feel what they are doing is wrong. I will find middle ground by saying that what they are doing has become accepted and is not different than what is done by others and what has become common practice.

    There is no good system to recognize and introduce a new maples. I remember the Acer palmatum 'Taylor' thread the sparked some interest as some of us felt it was not a very unique plant, but it did have the backing of the RHS. If the Maple Society and the RHS back a plant that is a start--at least someone has tried to go through some channels. If we believe they have given validity to a plant in error then we can address that issue as a group.

    The problem is the idea that we can take a seedling, name it and call it collectible and offer it sale. This is done for the money or for personal recognition. I challenge anyone to tell me the the two plants offered for sale above are unique enough to warrant offering for sale. Maybe they have been evaluated for 2 years, but that doesn't cut it.

    In the climate today, the system the Crazy suggests will not work as the people evaluating plants are too scared that the plant will be leaked if they share with others for evaluation. I know a grower that feels he has maybe two seasons to release a plant and make money with it before the wood is all over the country being propagated by a multitude of growers, many with more impact that he can have. There is no preceived time anymore to evaluate plants, to put the maples first, and do what is best for everyone.

    I don't have nearly the problem with regional plants--where nurseries might sell a plant that has been discovered locally, and they sell to people in the community. When we start to see these plants on the web, in acutions, and being sold by some of the largest retailers in the business the impact is then widespread.

    I have bought many a newly named plant in the past few years and I am usually more dissappointed than I am happy. Imagine all of the long-proven and wonderful maples I could have if I didn't jump on the band wagon and open my wallet to every new name I saw. The old plants that many of us overlook have all the characteristics of most fo the new introductions. They are proven plants that were much more carefully selected in many cases overy years of evaluation. The dilution is that these plants are being lost and overlooked in the sea of new names that are available today.
  6. Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hoschton, Ga Z7
    Hey Mike,
    I think part of the problem is there is not one place to check on maples. You mentioned the RHS and Maple Society. Is there a way to access what information they have via the internet. It would be great to type in a search in a particualr cultuvar and see information about it. Numerous cultivars were listed in the back of 'Japanese Maples' and that was 87. I am sure we have jumped dramtically from there.
    The basic propblem is having one central place to log all of this. Obviously money plays a big part of why we dont have a place. But if we could start our own, we could at least begin the process. I am sure i havent seen many cultivars from the west coast, since i am on the east coast. And after seeing some of Gomeros trees, i realize there is alot out of the country. Thru our threads we have kinda the preliminary workings of a place to check out cultivars. But we need a more strict scientific logging method to help make the information more constructive and useful.

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy'
  7. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Hey Mike,

    I am all for assiting in whatever process is deemed most useful. The major problem is that we have lost and are losing the foundation that was set more than a decade ago and started many decades before that. Progress was made when the japanese heritage of maples was recognized and their catalogs and plants were translated and the plants properly named and organized. This included spellings. Now we face not only a camp here in the states (east and west additionally) but we have the Europeans and Japanese with what we might call somewhat different groupings of plants and plant names. While there is some overlap, this is further complicated by european spellings being adopted by some for some maples.

    I love the idea of a database or list, but to combine what is being done around the world will pose an insurmountable task for any individual without previous knowledge of these plants and the spellings of their names. Merging and removing duplicates would be a daunting task. My arguement is that these tasks need to be done and it is not happening. The needless introductions of more and more plants just dilutes and complicates.

    I know that Gregory has been asked to write a new book, and from what I understand, independently of what has been done before. I know he has contacted many of the growers and collectors that have contributed maples in the past and I hope he is able to make it as complete as possible. We cannot wait for a new text to come along to solve the problems and we cannot sit back and rely on a text until the next one is written. It needs to be an ongoing process and for that, everyone would have to want to contribute, learn and source plants, and feel that they are protected in someway in the distribution process.

    This is a great forum, as we have a number of countries represented, and if nothing else we must continue discussion and update the gallery when possible. The more I think about it, the more I wished that World Plants felt some responsibility toward the plants and maples as a whole--selling these plants in the manner they are gives validity to the offerings that is not earned or warranted.

  8. redwingmaple

    redwingmaple Member

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    I find this subject both interesting and slightly worrysome. After reading the thread, I searched Japanese maples on ebay and found a popular seller with 2 "rare" JM's. The maples are called 'mr sun' and 'JJ'. The plant description does not specify if they are palmatum, japonicum, or any other species(do buyers on ebay care?).
    As I am new to maples, I am trying to be careful when I post replies, but a couple things seem obvious:
    1. It seems as though their is a move towards giving JM's western names. Yes , it would seem the plants are more mass marketable with non-Japanese names. Are these "new" western named JMs really new, or are they young grafts of old JM cultivars which are displaying temporary unique characteristics?
    2. There are many reasons I purchase a JM. I research physical characteristics such as leaf color, 10 year size, bark appearance, leaf shape, fall color, etc.. I also enjoy knowing the history and origin of the maples I buy. If I purchase a relatively newer cultivar such as a.p. 'shaina', I want to be able to trace it's origins. Anyone can do this with 'shaina', but it seems that with many "new" JMs this is not possible. I would like to know before I make a purchase if I am getting a sport, witches broom, seedling, etc., and from which maple this "new" maple arose.
    Anyway, like I mentioned earlier, I am new- just my 2 cents.
  9. Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hoschton, Ga Z7
    welcome to the forum.
    As for naming, 'Japanese Maples' trys to explain somewhat the convention trying to be used today. I have loaned mine out, but others here can tell you more. I remeber it saying something about latin cultivar names being incorrect.

    I agree with you, it is hard to research much of the newer cultivars of the last 10-20 years. I would love to have some information on my 'Dr Seuss', but i havent found one bit of information. The nursery where i got it couldnt tell me where they got it. But i have one, and it is quite unique and worthy of watching for the next couple of years.
    Thats why i was thinking if we started to setup our own system, eventually we could get some information logged on old and new cultivars.
    As Mike mentioned in an earlier post, the task is daunting. But since we will not have any influence by money and profit, just our love of maples, we are started in the right direction. If we set up the right procvedure, there are experts on here that could help evaluate and approve our information.
    Even though the task is tough, anythign is better than what we have now, bascially nothing. I knew nothing about maples 3 years ago. The book 'Japanese Maples' and this forum and other internet resources have enlightened me greatly. The book is great, but it is an unchanging document, so it is immediately out of date in a few years. A forum that can update constantly, would work much better. Plus using the dercriptions is ok, but pictures can be worth much more. So a record of each cultivar with photos in all seasons, mature, juvenile, habit, etc. One picture can be misleading also, which is why a consensus on what picture to use as the standard is needed. A good example is 'Harasuame'. The picture in 'Japanese Maples' show one gorgeous leaf with exactly one half variegated. Well i have wanted to have one for a while. I got one this summer, and it has no variegation on it at the moment. Now most of the trees i get are very young and often have very juvenile foilage. Next year i will get to start evaluating. Seeing my trees for the first time every spring is exciting. But i am sure i might no ever see an exact one half variegated leaf. So the one picture might be a little decieving. Another example is my 'Kara su Gawa'. It is about 8 ft tall, so very mature. It has little or no variegation. Varying factors account for this, not to mention i planted him in a spot with way to much sun. But a graft from him this year was the most wonderful pink, cream and green all year. Same thing with differnt zones. I am quite sure my reds look alot different here than in the northwest, or southern california by summer end. My point is one phot is often misleading, but a library of photos can be quite revealing. Soemone pointed out the strange immature leaves of there 'Sangu Kaku' earlier. I was freaked out with mine also the first time I saw mine do it. I was running for the grafting knife to graft the new cultivar, LOL. Well now after seeing numerous ones, i recognize it as standard late summer growth for this cultivar. A picture of this could help people recoginize this.

    Well enough chatter for now
    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' (I think this name is ok, LOL)
  10. mendocinomaples

    mendocinomaples Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    NW CA

    A huge undertaking but well worth the attempt. As we know, maples tend to be a bit plastic ie. they mold to their environmental conditions to a certain extent. Throw in variances due to culture and you can have the same cultivar appearing very different to the uninformed. And then young plants will often behave different from a mature tree! The only way to truely know if you have a new cultivar is to grow your plant in question (for at least 5-8 years) next to similar varieties in a myriad of growing conditions (soil, sun exposure, waterings etc.)... a difficult task. It takes time and effort to name plants correctly as well as refraining from naming a new one when in fact they it is not worthy of a new cultivar status. But for the puposes of clarity, and stopping the diluting or loss of the cutlivars that have been grown and preserved for hundreds of years this is well worth the time and effort from all propagators. It is a code of ethics that they should abide by.

    Posting photos may be an okay start but as we know it is very difficult to get the feel of the plant from just a few photos. A new web site or perhaps this forum as suggested could be created for the possible intro for new plant cultivars. It would be a start but surely not enough. Traveling to see the plants (expensive, time consuming and not always practical) and education are the next best attempts to thwarting this problem.
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    First let's get a few spellings back down to Earth,
    Harusame and Karasugawa. Any other spelling
    of these two Maples is not only wrong but errant
    spellings are designed to fool the buyer into
    thinking they have another plant or a second form
    of the original Maple such as Kara su gawa may
    be construed as being a different plant than the
    old Maple Karasugawa is. What compounds this
    issue is the fact the old Karasugawa Maple is
    seldom seen available for sale any more. Most
    people have purchased Orido nishiki instead under
    the guise that they were buying a Karasugawa. At
    present only a handful of people know how to tell
    an Orido nishiki and a Oridono nishiki apart from
    each other in a group setting. Even at times of
    the year both Maples will look almost identical to
    a Versicolor, just to add to the intrigue.

    On Don Kleim's old stock plant of Harusame, the
    most variegated leaves I ever saw on the tree at
    one time was two leaves. The photo in the Vertrees
    books and the Vertrees/Gregory book was a one
    time only event that was captured. That photo
    along with others of this Maple was sent to J.D.
    to use for this Maple in his book. It was a jolt
    to the owner of the Maple that the variegated
    photo was used for the book to denote this
    plant. Our thinking was that Harusame is
    not a variegated Maple but is a semi dwarf
    that makes a nice bun shaped small accent
    tree in a landscape.

    Drop the notion that I am being passionate in
    my writings about Maples. I am dismayed at
    a few people that have let the dilution of these
    plants come about at their hands and uptight
    with others that let it happen and carry on
    solely for personal gain at the expense of the
    plant. It is not going to take a Mr.Shep
    guideline to solve what has gone on as I
    alone cannot deal with the widespread
    misnaming of these plants. It is too far
    gone to remedy especially since the people
    that have caused the greatest amount of the
    problems are held in too high esteem with
    their buddies elsewhere. I think the trend
    today is to spend more time and effort in
    knowing the species forms and cultivars
    of the species forms as the Palmatums,
    Japonicums, Shirasawanums and in part
    some of the Buergerianums are so screwed
    up that even the knowledgeable people in
    Maples really do not have the know how
    or the capacity to accurately distinguish
    what cultivar is which upon sight. Others
    have chosen to make up things on their
    own such as some of the reasoning for
    some Maples being thought of as being
    a Shirasawanum as a result of the erect
    samaras. Well, what throws a wrench
    into that notion is that my old form
    Roseomarginatum and my true form
    Katsura, as examples, both hold their
    samaras erect and they are by no means
    a Shirasawanum. Neither was my true
    Japanese form of Sango kaku or my old
    true Japanese form of Butterfly which
    also held their samaras erect. For a while
    in Japan Shirasawa's Maple was felt to be
    a subspecies of Japonicum. It was the
    European idea that Shirasawanum was
    its own species but there were some
    forms of Japonicum Aureum that are real
    close to the old plant in Trompenburg
    but they are different in the leaf size
    and shape as well as leaf color during
    the growing season. People surely
    do not want me to tell them the
    difference between the old Japonicum
    Aureum, Japonicum Ogon itaya and
    Shirasawanum Aureum as nothing I
    write will have any meaning unless
    you guys see these Maples first hand
    and I can point out the differences in
    them for you. Then I have to concern
    myself with the knit pickers that want
    to tell you I am wrong all because an
    author uses Vertrees book as a reference
    to point out that J.D. also inlcudes Ogon
    itaya as a Shirasawanum. Well, that
    point becomes moot when I know from
    talks with him that J.D. never saw an
    Ogon itaya in the first place to know
    if it was a Japonicum or a Shirasawanum.
    In Japan Ogon itaya was a selected
    seedling from Japonicum Aureum
    and oddly enough Ogon itaya is still
    around here in California in at least
    two private collections, in one nursery
    I know of and possibly in another
    nursery still.

    I am glad you guys are sensing that some
    of these new names may not be new plants
    in time. The names are just names until
    we see some stock plants of these Maples.
    The problem is that there aren't any real
    stock plants of them yet. Most of these
    plants have been named at two to three
    years of age just to be propagated and sold
    to the unsuspecting. True form Shaina is
    a good example as people need to look at
    the ones that yweride showed in the Maple
    photo gallery. I know those plants and I
    know where they are. I know which nursery
    those Shaina originally came from. True
    form Shaina is a semi dwarf but can get up
    to 9-12' feet tall and larger in the right
    settings and not all the leaves will have the
    characteristic rounded and shortened middle
    lobe symbolic of what many people feel is
    a witches broom. Sorry to mess with your
    minds a little but true form Shaina did not
    arise as a witches broom but came about
    as a selected seedling instead, so did Pixie.
    The shortened middle lobe of today's Shaina
    did come about from cuttings taken from
    an unusual growth emanating from the true
    form Shaina but it was from a sport, not
    from a bona fide witches broom. A witches
    broom from a dwarf Maple may or may not
    shrink down the leaf size or change the shape
    of the leaves as in Shishigashira no yatsubusa
    we see larger sized leaves than the parent it came
    from but we also see a nice, compact bun shaped
    plant that is considered by many to be a "natural"
    bonsai plant. Natural in this case means leave
    it alone, the Maple requires no hands on training.

    We had a book come out in publication in the last
    five years in which virtually all of the photos shown
    in the book are from container grown Maples that
    are less than ten years old, some only five to seven
    years old. I expect many of those plants to change
    on us in the next five to ten years if they are still
    alive. We will see changes in the color and leaf
    sizes once the plants are in the ground and we will
    see some changes also if these plants are still grown
    in containers but several of them will change. What
    I expect to see is that some of these named seedlings
    will look closer to their seed bearing parents which
    is exactly what the owner of these cultivars is not
    going to want to have happen. The question is how
    many of these newly named seedlings will do what
    I expect they will do in the years to come? There
    is a reason why people do not show photos of the
    entire plant and that is that the plants are not old
    enough yet to be naming. With no stock plants,
    12-15 year old and older Maples, around to compare
    the younger plants to, we are all in for an interesting
    ride. What bothers me as is that in the interim there
    will be several of these Maples propagated and sold
    and then what happens if I am right about some
    of these Maples eventually becoming like their
    parents for leaf shape and color. It will be too
    late years down the road to say that Jim warned
    us that this may happen to all of us collectors.
    The sellers will not care that they have been
    selling a Maple as one cultivar that later turns
    out to be something common, already around.

    You start the educating process with the people
    in the positions of having influence in Maples.
    Make them accountable, no matter who they
    are. As so few people today are not in Maples
    for self promotion or to use Maples as their
    means to promote themselves or for personal
    benefit from the financial gains from sales.
    The tough part will be to know who is honest
    and who is genuine and who cares for the plant
    for the long term. Short term interest is chasing
    the money and the promoting of one's self above
    and beyond the interest of the plant.

    Sorry for the "hit and run" but you guys have
    a lot of sorting out to do and there are many
    more questions in regards to Maples than there
    are answers for these plants. The more we
    learn, the more questions we have and I might
    add the less answers that we have as a result
    of the continued learning.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  12. Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hoschton, Ga Z7
    Hey Jim,
    Sorry about the spellings, that just my japanese phonics coming from a southern boy without the book to help with spelling, LOL.

    You bring up many points in your email about several cultivars. You seem to have alot of information about different cultivars, and it is just that information which helps out the community. Being new to this, i havent had the chance to see alot of mature trees like you have. Thats why it would be great if we had some way to start documenting this. This forum does this to some degree, but a more structured format might help with culling and dissecting the information.

    Your description of the 'Harusame' pciture and how it came to be, was sort of what i suspected. Seeing it listed as a variegated cultivar in 'Japanese Maples' makes for a hard to figure out subject, unless i see one or the information comes from someone like you. We often post questions and get responses about certain trees, but having some place to start researching would be great.

    Your comment about the 'Karasugawa' also was something i suspected. What way i am to figure out what i have. I can post pictures and ask. But question like that pop up all the time when evaluating maples, so i would love to start orgainizing some of this.

    A previous post mentioned having a place for new cultivars. That really draws to a point i have, what is a new one. There is no place to start checking heritage, history, etc. If we started organizing them we could have everything in there. A place to track them we grow out our trees. We can thing log if they stay unique or end up being just like another cultivar.

    It would even be better if we could then start to document trees from various nurseries and collection like you mentioned. I have tried to visit man botanical gardens over the last year. As i take pictures, we could get documentation of mature specimens.

    Yes we would need some form of review, just allowing people to post ther views, ideas, and pictures could lead to a disorganized mess. But with a review process set up, we could get good solid information together.

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy'
  13. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    To give meaning to anything we must study it. The study of maples requires we know how to classify them, recognize them, grow them, etc. We expect the same effort towards accuracy in peer discussions and as Robert says, the same code of ethics in wanting to be complete and knowledgeable. If we don't know a plant we should not propagate it and if we have not studied it, we should not sell it. I may buy new maples with new names, but they won't leave my hands unless I am condifident it is the right thing to do. As Jim points out, we cannot find out about maples today because no one knows and no one will tell. The only way is to buy and trade them one by one and hope we keep up. Thereby, we as members of this forum are doing the leg work work to grow and learn the plants. We then freely, as we believe is the right thing to do, give freely back to the community what we learn. After a thread like this, we must ask why?

    Why is it that almost all of the people I have bought maples from don't really know the plant? Commonly I hear that they have only had it for a season or do not have a stock plant or have not had time to study it? Trust me, I have bought from some of the best on and off line. Many times I know more about their maples than they do. To top that, just try to ask a prominent auction seller where his plants come from--yes he does not graft his own--and he'll tell you his source doesn't want to be revealed. What a way to source plants! What bothers me the most is the more I research the more I am coming to find that all the maples and scion wood, even with an ever-growing number of retailers, still come from a very select few sources. Many in my state. They graft enormous numbers of plants and ship them coast to coast for resale. Even the more highly regared online sellers of maples bring in or send out wood to be grafted for up to half of what the sell back to buyers.

    Not only are we diluting and mixing up maples but we are accepting a quality level that is substandard and many of the plants we buy today belong in the reject or compost pile. They are firesale plants. Liners, 4" pots, dirty rootstock and scion wood. Heck, even Ron B said it recently that many maples nurseries in the northwest are so intent on shipping out stock to meet the demands, they aren't and can't take the time to control fungal and bacterial diseases. Once out of the care of the nursery, the stress causes all sorts of problems. Many of the maples we buy today are just waiting to die.

    I want and wish for this forum to be welcome place to exchage ideas and plant information. I also know that the moderators in the UBC don't want and won't let this be a place of constant criticism of plants and the people involded in their sale and propagation. Unfortunately, I have always taken myself too seriously and have grown to feel the same about maples. When one devotes the time to grow more than a dozen species and over 150 varieties--growing larger yearly--the shear time spent with the plants makes you feel some attachement to them. Plants, maples and others will be my life long hobby, passion, and possibly business someday and I feel some repsonsibility to protect them and those that will unknowingly fall victim to the scams and mess that maples are today. I see nothing wrong with constructively holding people accountable for their actions in maples, as I have done here, and since I know of no more effective way to do so, I will continue to do so here when it is in the best interest of the community.

    Thanks to all who have commented and to those that I hope still have something to say.

  14. mendocinomaples

    mendocinomaples Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    NW CA
    In order to know the heritage of a maple it would be like constructing a family tree!
  15. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Mike, I was not trying to pick on you with the
    spellings. I know what you meant but others
    do the misspellings on purpose and it is them
    that I no longer feel any compulsion to help.

    What way i am to figure out what i have. I can
    post pictures and ask. But question like that pop
    up all the time when evaluating maples, so i
    would love to start orgainizing some of this.

    The best way is to ask but as you are becoming
    aware it takes more than one seasonal set of
    photos to get a handle on what the plant may be.
    It did not used to be so tough to ID a Maple but
    it is today.

    I am not opposed to new Maple cultivars as some
    that I've seen show some great promise but it is
    how many of the newer Maples have been named
    is what causes me the most concern.

    In regards to Michael's point, I also collected many
    Maples thinking that years later I would propagate
    them and let a few people have some of them. I
    stuck to Maples that I felt others would know in
    time but the people that knew some of these plants
    better than I are no longer living among us. I often
    wonder who would know some of these Maples that
    I have if I did not tell them what it is that they are
    seeing. I'll admit I used to hide behind others to
    tell me what their Maples were but one of my
    mentors would never tell me. I had to figure it
    out what name of the Maple was all on my own
    and then be told whether I was right or not.
    Back in 1990 I brought in over 200 Maples just
    for me, not to say I had them but to grow them
    on and evaluate them. Considering most were
    five gallon sized plants I had a pretty penny
    wrapped up just in Maples but I had other
    collections going such as Pines and Magnolias
    to coincide with my desire to learn more of
    these plants. Now I have several of my Maples
    outlet to friends and family after I made a
    decision to get these plants in the ground as
    I felt the container growing experiment had
    gone its course for many of them at the risk
    of losing some of them as it took a lot of free
    time to maintain what all I had just for Maples.
    I had other plants also that required a little
    bit of maintenance. The water schedule was
    difficult with my being at that time period of
    trying to be at five scattered locations all at
    once. I just felt these plants needed to be in
    the ground and so I let a few of them go but
    I know where they are and can get wood from
    them at any time. The internet messed up my
    long term goal for selling as my market was
    the East Coast and the South knowing that
    they did not have many of these Maples,
    some they have never had but today there
    are lots of people now growing a few plants
    that have access to many that are grown
    elsewhere and can bring them in. I cannot
    bring plants into here nearly as easily as
    they can for example. The reason is stated
    in an Alberta Spruce thread in the Conifer

    In regards to Robert's post, we did not have
    to have a family tree if we knew the growing
    source of the Maple. If the Maple originated
    from the East Coast we knew which nursery
    produced it. If the Maple came from Esveld
    or Hillier we knew that too and we knew where
    and who they got their Maple from. I think
    what bothers me more than the influx of
    new, unproven names of Maples is that the
    family tree for sourcing is all messed up
    now. At least I can fall back on some of
    the Maples I know and have in which they
    came in from Japan and I know who they
    came from in Japan but Europe now as
    well as Australia is going to be tough to
    get a straight answer as to how a Maple
    came about. Much like your question
    about Esk Sunset as opposed to Eskimo
    Sunset and then to add in Esk Flamingo
    just exacerbates the whole issue of
    wanting to know what is going on with
    these names. Will the real Esk Sunset
    please stand up? So we will know which
    one it is. We are not going to learn what
    we need to know about these plants from
    people here and it seems we are not going
    to find out from people in Japan either.
    Go to the source "down under" is what
    we may have to do. Then when we do find
    out we may learn of the "rat" here that
    brought in some plants from a New Zealand
    source and later changed the name just to
    allow enough doubt that the Maples are not
    the same so he or she can sell the made up
    name of Eskimo Sunset.

    Frankness can be tough to accept but
    reservations need to get out into the
    open as we are not the only ones
    confused with the naming of some
    of these Maples. Then to learn that
    other Societies recognize the made
    up name(s), rather than doing their
    homework to check up on these
    plants just sends me into orbit.
    Makes me want to have nothing to
    do with them as they seemingly have
    no credibility. They in turn lost their
    objectivity while forgetting their
    whole purpose of having a Society
    in the first place. What's a poor
    country farmer to do? Stay away
    from them is how I work it.

  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
  17. mendocinomaples

    mendocinomaples Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    NW CA
    Ron...your post at the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) pretty much settles the question about what should be done:

    International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP)

    <There are three ways in which a name becomes fixed under the ICNCP. Either a person publishes a new name, complete with description, in a dated, printed work or one registers a name directly with an ICRA who will ensure that the name is published on behalf of the registrant. The other route to establishing a name is through its entry into a register established by a statutory authority such as in governmental National Lists or Plant Breeders' Rights registers. >

    There is a wealth of infrormation at the International Society for Horticultural Science site and it is a shame that plant propagators that wish to sell a new cultivar do not follow the guidelines that have been in existence for 40 yrs and online for the last 4 yrs!

    Everyone should read HOW TO NAME A NEW CULTIVAR whether or not they are interested in introducing a new cultivar name into the plant world just so that they know what is involved. I was, until reading this, under the assumption that you only registered a plant name if you want to collect royalties. Not so. Also there apparently is no fee involved to name a cultivar! So why aren't people doing this? I suspect the problems that have been discussed so far in this thread are do to human complacency. Not enough people want to take the time or effort to do things right.

    All that said, the guidlines at the International Society for Horticultural Science site for determining whether or not a person has a new cultivar in my opinion fall short. They are vague and too relaxed. After reading their guidlines I can see why we can run into problems.

    Education of ourselves and others is the key to changing how thing are done. If we want to change things then we should subscribe to the Maple Society, the ISHS, IPPS, and get involved. Staying on the sidelines will not help.

  18. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    A registration for plants is effective when
    people will adhere to it. A backyard grower
    can name a seedling Maple, get it in the right
    hands and boom, we have a new name of a
    Maple available for sale. Once the plant is
    sold it no longer matters if the Maple is
    registered or not.

    Then again I know of two Maples that
    were indeed registered that were not
    owned by the person that registered the
    names of those plants, even to the extent
    of falsifying the heritage of the Maples.
    They were someone else's plants on
    loan to them or to that person strictly for
    evaluation purposes. Okay, agreed, the
    system is not fool proof.

    We can "play" around with various plant
    institutions and conventions for naming
    of plants, getting our point of view known
    to various Societies but the damage with
    some plants has already been done. I
    wish it were not so. All I ask for is
    across the board consistency in the
    naming. None of this, what applies
    to Rhododendrons or exceptions made
    for naming does not apply for Magnolias
    and Maples and vice versa. Let's talk
    Conifers if you really want to have some
    fun, especially Pines that came into Europe
    from Japan and the US from Japan that
    were named in Europe with no thought
    or consideration given whatsoever to
    what the Japanese called and named
    these plants there. Do you really think
    this kind of thing did not happen for
    Maples also?

    We can effect change for the future but
    who else other than very select professional
    nurserymen and women will be conscious
    of and will ardently go through a naming
    registration process for a new plant when
    so many others will not do it and have not
    done it I might add?

    What do you plan to do with your Maple
    seedlings Robert? I will not sell mine
    but let me give them to the wrong people
    and they will be propagating and selling
    them quicker than you can blink an eyelash.
    Gee, I wonder what variety of names they
    will be sold as online, in Oregon and in

    I am not advocating people not join a
    Society and I did not mention or infer
    the Maple Society. My "war paint" is
    reserved for another Society. Besides,
    one Society mentioned has a link to
    an entity in which I do have an official
    title with them.

  19. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Idaho
    Why are there so many new cultivars out there? Are they really new? Nah. It's all about opportunity and marketing and business and capitalism and, let's face it, money. Ethics? Yeah, right.

    It's easy to sell something "new". It's hard to sell something that's common. There's always demand for differentiated products in the marketplace. Even Michael admits to buying "many a newly named plant in the past few years". We drive the marketplace with our purchasing behavior. Our dollars tell vendors what they can and cannot do. We vote with each and every one of them. So, in a sense, Michael has promoted the new-cultivar phenomenon that he rails about in this thread (and so have I).

    Watch the maple auctions on Ebay for awhile and track a few of the final selling prices. You'll find that some of the more common cultivars don't even sell. No one will even open the bid. But, buyers are all over something that most have never even heard of before. I've seen one-year grafts sell for more than $100. It's an amazing thing that makes little or no sense. I guess they just have to be the first one on their block to have one.

    Let's be honest. If I wanted to make a few, quick bucks, I'd graft a bunch of scions from one of the atropurpureum seedlings in my backyard and market them on Ebay as A.P. 'Sacred Heart'. I'd probably even make up a story implying Italian descent and some sort of relationship to the Church and/or the birth of Christianity! Who would stop me? The Maple Police?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not slamming Ebay or any of the vendors who sell their wares there. It's actually a very remarkable place where we have an opportunity to see a free marketplace in action. We don't get this sort of insight when we visit our local store or nursery. As a matter of fact, things might actually be more "above board" on Ebay than they are at a real store front. There's certainly a lot more visibility.

    Well said, Robert.
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    This sounds like a maple collecting mania. In the trenches (garden centers), Joe Public often has a tendency to buy familiar plants only. This is probably at least partly why growers have sometimes put less familiar cultivars on the market under names of widely known standard items. (Or a plant may be a foundling propagated mistakenly under a name the grower has heard of). I'm not talking Japanese maples here, specifically, but they have probably been included in this practice. A variation on this would be cheap seedlings sold as grafted cultivars, 'Bloodgood' being the prime example. (Maybe you could call your new strain 'Sacred Blood' or 'Goodheart').
  21. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southwest France
    Over here in Europe the situation is a little bit different. Generally, only well known growers dare to introduce new cultivars and then they tend to use Plant Shows to present them, going often through the award competition process. If one assumes that at least some of the members of the jury are knowledgeable in maples, then an award may give some insurance concerning the uniqueness of the cultivar.
    There is also the possibility of registration at Westonbirt, but apparently few use this route.

    I concur that some sort of reference site with abundant and 'certified' pictorial information on cultivars could be of great help for all of us but, as has been pointed above, seems a very complicated endeavour.

    Kind regards,

  22. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Britain zone 8/9
  23. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    There is a lot to be said for the species, and all species within Acer, as I have begun collecting some of them. While many are not suited for small garden settings, or at least we cannot plant many in a small setting, many are ornamental and worthwhile. To stop at the species is a crime if we ignore the diversity within the very ornamental palmatum palmatum/japonicum group. But to each his own and a verified species palmatum is one I don't have and should. Maybe it is one of the very special acquistions that should be left for just the right time and find.

    I like the idea of "Tulip Mania" and I realize that the economy of anything is cyclical and that what we rant and rave about now will not be the issue when the bubble breaks or bursts or whatever. Even the idea that the "people behind maples" (whoever they may be) are happy to let maple mania grow and thereby the demand and $ do also, is not too far fetched, it seems.

    I greatly agree that what you seeming have going in Europe is much closer to what we need to have here. Naming aside, as that is a problem in and of itself, the leadership or respect for the Esveld collection and introductions made from it seems to be mostly intact. At least the process of introducing maples into that collection and through societies and by merit functions. The Van Gelderns are in a precarious and advantageous position housing the national collection and at any moment can change the climate and flow of maples in Europe and around the world. I think we have all been watching the worldwide dispersion of maples begin to merge as other areas of our economies have and maple introductions from multiple continents finding their way from here to there as scion wood, but still the uniqueness of each geographical area staying somewhat intact.

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005
  24. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Likes Received:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    A species Palmatum is not tough to find or locate.
    The problem may arise in the verification of it if
    the tree did not come from Japan.

    We have trade shows also for nurseries to offer
    new introductions or cleaned up versions to various
    nurseries hoping they will order some of those plants.
    I know of a Far West trade show we attended in
    which we brought up several colors of the Mume
    Apricot in bloom. Well, do a late January show and
    have people see a tree in bloom in various colors
    including flowers in doubles and singles and that
    will get people's attention. We sold all 20 plants
    we brought with us and had orders for 1000 more
    five gallons before we left for home. The trade show
    route is fine for nurseries selling to other nurseries.
    The thing that undermines this process is when
    someone will send some wood of a newly named
    Maple to a European nursery. The nursery propagates
    the plant and gets the plants up to size quick and then
    in turn ships wood to a major Oregon propagator to
    have them duplicate the Maple fast and furious and
    then within two years or so a seller or two will have
    a few of them on eBay up for auction. One of the
    leading eBay sellers does not grow his own Maples,
    they are all coming from a leading Oregon wholesale
    nursery. All that is okay with me as for some
    collectors many Maples of the past were not easy
    access, hard to obtain. That is not so much the case
    now with the help of the internet. My problem with
    this process is that I wonder how long many of these
    Maples will remain alive for us in that when we are
    propagating Maples in large numbers just to move
    them quick. Historically others have overlooked the
    quality of their end product. A few major markets
    for leading Oregon nurseries dried up all because
    those nurseries were pushing out a product that had
    growing problems in their new respective homes
    across the country. We still can read evidence of
    some of those same problems with various plants
    in these forums with people buying a plant from
    a retail nursery and in a month or two the plant
    starts to falter. Various posts in Conifers and
    Dogwoods quickly comes to mind to substantiate
    this point.

    Ultimately a Maple's purpose is not to grow in an
    arboretum or a botanical garden but in a landscape.
    Even today we are 20 years ahead of Oregon in the
    use of these plants in a standard landscape. It was
    less that 40 years ago there were major publications
    that stated we could not grow Japanese Maples here
    because of our warm temperatures.. That thinking
    has dramatically changed in various locations due
    to the dedication of a very select group of people
    that were willing to try and grow these plants in
    an environ the "experts" said, even laughed
    at people at times, could not be done. Now
    we can see Japanese Maples grown in Las Vegas
    and Phoenix thanks to those people, just to have
    the book authors not even recognize their efforts
    and their lifetime dedication to these plants.
    Another point to consider is that almost all of
    those same book authors would not have had
    the Maples they are writing about had it not been
    for these people and it is this fact is what makes
    me so disgusted with them as well as a few other
    private and public gardens, arboretums and yes,
    even some botanical gardens. I like the notion
    that others seem to think these plants just showed
    up on their own out of thin air. They had to come
    from someone but so few people today care to
    know who those people were.

    I don't know of any others that have had a greater
    impact on the industry and the educational types
    are clueless about these people and what they did
    for Maples. What most people do not realize and
    I was glad to read Ron B's post is that many people
    still do come into a retail nursery looking for a
    particular plant, many times asking for the plant
    by name. The tried and true industry standard
    Maples such as Oshio beni, Ever Red, Crimson
    Queen, Bloodgood and Sango kaku to name a few
    are still popular for use in a landscape here. Just
    ask Monrovia if you do not believe me as virtually
    all of those Maples sold here from Sacramento to
    Bakersfield go right into a landscape. That is not
    the case in virtually any other locale, especially
    considering the number of Maples planted in the
    ground. No where in the US can compete with
    us here for the numbers of Maples utilized in a
    landscape and 40 years ago there were next to
    none planted in the ground for landscapes. Do
    you honestly think Gomero would have Maples
    in Southern France or the guys in Australia and
    New Zealand as well had it not been for the
    pioneers efforts right here? Think about it as I
    am referencing people that had Maples and were
    working with them even before Esveld had any
    Japanese Maples.

  25. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Likes Received:
    Southwest France
    No where in the US can compete with
    us here for the numbers of Maples utilized in a
    landscape and 40 years ago there were next to
    none planted in the ground for landscapes. Do
    you honestly think Gomero would have Maples
    in Southern France or the guys in Australia and
    New Zealand as well had it not been for the
    pioneers efforts right here? Think about it as I
    am referencing people that had Maples and were
    working with them even before Esveld had any
    Japanese Maples.

    Hmmm!, old fashioned chauvinism?, .....
    The plate at the foot of the flagship Aureum at Esveld indicates that it was planted in 1870 and some Japanese maples at Westonbirt and Wakehurst date from around 1900.
    Over there, at that time, I believe you were pretty busy searching for gold, not having much time for Japanese maples.


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