Shishigashira (Lion's Head/Mane JM) - Ojishi vs Mejishi

Discussion in 'Maples' started by winterhaven, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have found a Mejishi and an Ojishi at my local nursery and I'm trying to choose between them. I would really love to hear helpful advice. Any information comparing and contrasting them would be appreciated.

    This is what I've already gathered from Vertrees...
    Ojishi is the "male" form, Mejishi is the "female" form of Shishigashira. Ojishi is a dwarf and Mejishi is not. Ojishi has slightly larger leaves and is more rare.

    As to the size and condition of the two trees at the nursery, both are large for their type and priced accordingly. Their prices are within 10% of each other. The Mejishi does show some scarring in places (yes, more than one) that seem well healed over. It's a bigger, more impressive tree. They are both in fall color and look spectacular. The Mejishi is simply stunning (probably because of its size). The Ojishi looks to be in perfect condition but I'm guessing is a younger tree. I can't afford them both, HELP!
     
  2. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    I would grab the ojishi for smaller space and mejishi. for a larger space. Both great trees, you can't go wrong. If I were picking site unseen, I would take ojishi.

    Krautz
     
  3. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    That comment is enough for me :)
     
  4. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    I vote for the rarer of the two, for obvious reason. :)
     
  5. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I will attempt to attach photos.

    By the way, my favorite advice is "buy them both." Sigh. Lotto anyone?

    Further, my husband is six feet tall, but keep in mind he is standing a few feet in front of it.

    The Ojishi was about as tall as me and I'm 5'4".
     

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    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  6. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    simply stunning is correct! I am sorry, but the above tree is the mejishi? Pics like these are what keeps me going in keeping up my little trees. If just one of these ends up like that tree (in many years) I'll be a happy camper.
     
  7. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    If you allow your mouse to hover over the photographs, the image names are the names of the trees. I called the Mejishi "Shishigashira" because that's what it's called at this particular nursery. Also, according to Iseli Nursery at http://www.iseli-nursery.com/articles/JapaneseDrama2006.htm, "'Mejishi', the female lion, is the more common type and is usually found in the trade simply as Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira'." But just to be clear, the first two are Ojishi and the second two are Mejishi.
     
  8. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Darn it .... I now like them both :)
     
  9. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Wonderful!! :-)

    I have a Shishigashira, and its leaves are extremely curled, almost looks like parsley. It looks like the Ojishi leaves are not as tightly curled. Was that your observation as well?

    Thanks!
     
  10. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    I like the little bend in the trunk of the mejishi - gives it sense of age. How old is a tree like that?
     
  11. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    whis4ey - I'm glad you can understand my dilemma!

    K4 - congratulations on your many new acquisitions - OMG, I thought I'd gone crazy with MY fall acquisitions, but by comparison I'm positively a model of restraint. And I'm telling my husband that, too. But I don't think he'll believe me. Regarding the leaves, I have read in two places that the leaves of the Ojishi are slightly larger and less curled. Maybe they're larger because they're less curled?

    Paxi - I just don't know - OLD.

    And I found the Mejishi at another nursery for 2 x's the price (literally) that is about the same size and girth.

    So I'm going to drive by the nursery this morning and try and take some better photos. I'll get some close up of the leaves of each. Maybe I can snag one from each and put it on the ground or something. And I'll take some close-ups of the imperfections in the trunk of the Mejishi. Maybe I'm worried about nothing - I am relatively newly infected with this virulent tree disease. I love them both and I can't sleep for thinking about them. Are there antibiotics for this? Maybe antipsychotics? LOL

    I will say this, the more JM's I get, the more I want! You'd think it would work the other way. Hmm.
     
  12. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I meant to mention...

    At the rival nursery with the more expensive Mejishi their Japanese Maple guy said that they sold the Ojishi for years but stopped carrying it because it didn't sell well. So I talked to him about the leaves because I read at Iseli's site that, "One of the best attributes of 'Ojishi' is the brilliant rose color of the spring flush. The autumn coloration of 'Ojishi' is not quite as magnificent as 'Mejishi'." (http://www.iseli-nursery.com/articles/JapaneseDrama2006.htm). Now this nurseryman said he did not recall any rose colored spring flush in the Ojishi. But he also didn't notice that the leaves were different in size. And regarding the fall coloration referenced, as you can see from the pictures I took of each tree living at the same nursery, they look almost identical (apart from size). So maybe the fall coloration of the Mejishi continues to improve and will leave the Ojishi behind?

    Does anyone know?

    Does anyone out there own an Ojishi that can tell me about their tree? Any spring flush?

    Currently I have them both on hold. Maybe I can sell my soul to the devil for Japanese Maples. I told my husband we could sell the diamond bracelet he bought me for Christmass last year. I'd much rather have trees than rocks. But for some reason that didn't go over as well as I had hoped. Go figure.
     
  13. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Your only hope is to join MA, (Mapleaholics Anonymous), but more than likely you'll just find out about even MORE trees you don't have that you suddenly can't live without!
     
  14. spookiejenkins

    spookiejenkins Active Member

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    WOW! I see exactly why the decision is a tough one. Hmmm... The male is surely the novelty, but that female is just a stunner! I am not sure I could purchase the rarer over the more lovely in this case. It does seem to me that the 'Mejishi' is just a better looking tree overall, so maybe, if your lottery numbers don't come in, you could buy the female now, with the intention of finding a much smaller 'Ojishi' in the future. Maybe you can even ask that nursery to order you one, as obviously they have a source.

    Like Paxi, your photos only make me appreciate my little twig trees more. I tend to them daily in the hopes I will someday have a stunner too.
     
  15. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    This is a pic of ƌjishi in the spring. Mine is not as old as the one in the nunrsery above.

    Gomero
     

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  16. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    They are both beautiful. Nobody around here carries ojishi so I would buy that tree. Every year I see tons of mejisji. Just my thought. But I don't think you van go wrong with either. Shishigashira is one of my favorites.

    Krautz
     
  17. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks for the input guys (and gals).

    Gomero, thank-you thank-you for the spring pic! I LOVE it.

    Everytime I think I've made a decision, I think about it a different way and my mind flip flops. I really really want the Ojishi, especially after that photo. I saw it at the nursery in late March and haven't been able to get it out of my mind since. I couldn't remember exactly what I had seen, just that it was really cool. So that's the tree I went hunting for when I found the Mejishi. But the Mejishi is just so beautiful that it literally made my heart beat a little faster and it's priced really really well. So I started second guessing myself.

    But now I just want them both. I have the perfect spots in mind... OK, so when are these MA meetings?

    But seriously, I have this nice sized courtyard off the entrance to the house with a tiny irregular island in the middle that would be just perfect for Mejishi. It would be close enough to really see the texture of the leaves. And because the island is elevated off the ground it would really emphasize the shape of the trunk.

    As for the Ojishi, I was reading about gardening techniques involving perspective that got me thinking. Across the property from the courtyard is a little valley followed by a hill that gets wonderfully filtered afternoon light. I'm thinking the distinctive fall foilage color pattern of the two trees would trick your mind into assuming you were looking at the same tree and thereby create an optical illusion that would exagerate the distance and size of the hill. Think it would work?

    So who am I fooling? One way or another I'm getting those two trees. Now to figure out how. Hmmm.

    Oh - I didn't make it to the nursery today to take more pictures. Just no time. But definitely tommorrow afternoon.
     
  18. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Just wait til you discover the on-line nurseries that have HUNDREDS of fantastic cultivars - each one more spectacular, unique and beguiling than the last! You are doomed to a life of Maple Madness!! DOOMED I say! HA HA HA!! (sinister laugh)


    ...oh yes, and welcome to the family! :-0
     
  19. nelran

    nelran Active Member

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    It's hard to decide, for sure. I would like to know the prices -just for reference- if it is possible. but I'm a maple maniac, so I try to get both and negotiate some rebate. (Even if I have to ask for a loan to get them).
    Most of my JMs are small so viewing these fabulous trees and their size make dream about the amount of time that will take mine to reach that beatiful form and maturity sizes (10-15 years maybe?) Fortunately ( or I must say sadly?) I don't have here a nursery like that.... too much temptation for me.

    Nelran
     
  20. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    So I was able to quickly stop by the nursery and take some pictures of Mejishi's wounds...

    I was hoping I had built them up in my mind. Instead I found one I hadn't seen before that's the worst of the lot. Guess there's a reason that this one is half the price of the two at the other nursery.
     

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  21. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    And Ojishi, which I thought was in perfect condition, did have one wond in a trunk and a branch that didn't look well.

    Have to think about this.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  22. nelran

    nelran Active Member

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    I never bougth JMs with these sizes, and none of mine trees is so big; but IMHO at least one of the wounds on the Ojishi, certaily doesn't look well to me. I'm far to be an specialist, but It seem some sort of canker od disease (Some forists will apport more info).
    If you finally decide to buy it, I suggest to cut this branch. (Also you can negotiate better price due this (I did with several of my JMs).

    Other thing to consider is to check if the root ball is circled. I don't know if it's the picture, but the container looks a little bit small for the tree size, (it seems that it wasn't transplanted for a long time), but again, look for other opinion from a more experienced collector in this forum.

    good luck!!
     
  23. Maple Sydney

    Maple Sydney Member

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    Just a question, how do you root-prune a tree that large?
     
  24. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I anticipate by "root pruning" you're talking about trimming the roots in order to repot the tree? Or are you talking about pruning the roots a year before transplanting? I think you only do that with in ground plants. I'm going to assume you mean for repotting. I've actually never done that. I cheated and put my baby trees in enormous pots. I'm guessing there would be a few ways to trim in order to repot. 1) get multiple strong people to help 2) get a tractor or other heavy lifting equipment (and protect the tree from the ropes or straps or whatever) 3) maybe you could just dig out around the sides of the tree little by little to you get to the bottom and then trim back. But that would leave old roots at the center bottom of the pot. I googled around for awhile trying to find the answer for my own edification, but didn't see anything that helped.

    With regard to the two maples of which I have posted pictures, if I got them, I would put at least one in the ground right away. And the other, well, I'll only be able to get it if a) I decide it's worth taking it on with the current damage and b) it's still there for the nursery's end of the year sale.

    The ones (only two so far) I put in pots were really tiny in comparison to the pot in which they were potted. I planted them with rocks in the bottom of the pot and then with a mixture of compost and sand (and etc.) and made sure to leave room at the top for a layer of mulch (which I changed yearly). I watched them carefully for years (was it five years, six, maybe seven?) and when the first one potted's growth started to slow I watched it even more carefully. Would have put it in the ground then, but we were moving. Then I babied it for the next growing season because I didn't know the sun patterns at the new house. Good thing, too, because where I originally put the tree it was not happy. By fall the rate of water absorption had dramatically dropped and I decided that whether I was ready or not it was time to put it in the ground. The other tree had been planted a year later and probably could have waited another year. But it was already starting to slow in growth and look less happy and I wanted to get it out of its pot before it was any harder to accomplish.

    Word of advice - don't buy huge pots that are narrower at the top than the middle, I don't care how pretty it is, it's not worth it. Really not worth it! Next advice - don't let your spouse "help". Seriously, DO NOT let your spouse help!

    While the roots were really dense, they did not circle. So I stimulated them and spread some out and stuck it in the ground. Hopefully it will be OK. It's loosing leaves like crazy, but so are other maples around here, so it's hard to tell. Wish me luck.

    And the way to plant trees that big is with a big strong helpful person (NOT THE SPOUSE) who knows what he's doing. I've put four big trees in the ground this year (but not JM's). And by big I mean root ball and total weight.

    I was lucky enough to find a man who used to work at the nursery planting and potting. So he is well trained. It's the very first time I've hired someone to help that actually knew more than me (which shouldn't be THAT impressive, I am an amateur). He has another guy that works with him on the bigger jobs. So between those two and my husband (who now is only allowed to help move big trees from the truck to the planting site) the trees got where they needed to go. Now I just need to wait and see how they do.

    So my tree potting experience conclusions...

    Pros:
    I really liked putting the youngsters in the pots. It made them look bigger and more impressive instantly. It let you know it was an important tree. I was able to see the structure really well and trim without becoming permanently hunch backed. I was better able to control the water amounts. When we had weeks of rain I just covered the top of the pot so the younsters didn't drown. When it was hot and I watered I knew that surrounding ground wasn't sucking the water away to other plants. Which allowed me to resist the temptation to give it "extra" water and then drown the poor tree during a drought (are you hearing the echo of past mistakes?). When we moved twice I was able to take them with me.

    Cons:
    Those trees were so heavy in those big pretty glazed pots that moving them required multiple people. When I didn't like where I put them after the first move, it was just too bad because I couldn't get anyone to help me move them again. And the trees suffered for it. But then, the one I put in the ground with the giant rootball just had to stay where I put it, too. On really sunny days those glazed pots got really hot. I don't know how dangerous that was, but intuitively it seemed like it might be a problem. So I spent as much time watering the outside of the pot as the inside. And just as a rool of thumb, the pots needed to be watered more frequently and more carefully than what was in the ground. Very time consuming. Oh, and now that I live where it gets down below freezing more often and for more days at a time, I worry about what the implications of that will be.

    In the future...
    I like the idea of putting young trees in some kind of container. Glazed pots are just too heavy, get too hot, and I would prefer a pot that wasn't so valuable I wasn't ready to break the pot apart when time to plant the tree. The black plastic aren't exactly beautiful and they get hot, too. The wooden ones suck out the moisture during the heat waves. Anyone got a better solution?

    For me, I have the glazed pots already (except the prettiest one - which cracked as the tree was finally coming out). So I'll continue to use them for the youngsters but put them in the ground in fewer years. Unless the freezing this turns out to be a problem. In which case I'll be putting perennials in the pots.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  25. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    They make polystyrene posts that mimick the look of the glazed pots but are as light as a feather! They really look good, too! The added bonus is that the pots do not transmit heat and insulate against cold.

    I just potted up an A.p. 'Burgundy Lime' in a polystyrene pot next to my steps. It looks all the world like a terracotta pot! Even has the chalky white touches in the crevices! This pot is about 7 years old. Here are some pics:
     

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