Interesting things you may not know about maples – especially Japanese maples

1. The seeds of a Japanese maple are called samaras

These interesting shaped seeds fly like a helicopter to the ground when they fall off in late spring.

2. In 1898 only 39 varieties of Japanese maples were available

Japanese Maple varieties are not all new to the US... In 1898 even there were 39 varieties of Japanese Maples available through Yokohama Nursery

3. Acer palmatum and Acer shirasawanum can generally be distinguished by the direction their samaras are held

Shirasawanum are generally held upright and palmatum are generally downward hanging.

4. Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa' is a favorite among Japanese maple collectors

This variety has been around for a while but is still a favorite among all Japanese maple lovers. This is one of the best green varieties that is prized for its compact growth habit which gives it a natural bonsai appearance.

5. Acer circinatum and Acer shirasawanum can be grafted onto Acer palmatum rootstock

Acer circinatum (Vine maple) is native to western North America but is so closely related to the Japanese maple that it too can be grafted onto Acer palmatum rootstock.

6. Some species of maples are well suited for cooler climates.

Shirasawanum and Japonicum maples are typically a little hardier than palmatum maples.

If you are on the fence about what species of maple to grow in your area, Acer shirasawanum or Acer japonicum might perform better than Acer palmatum.

7. Unique landscape applications

For instance, weeping (pendulous) varieties can be trained to weep over walls or other garden features creating a waterfall effect. Some pendulous varieties that are suited to this are: Ryu sei Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Ryu sei')[pictured], Orangeola Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Orangeola'), Baldsmith Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Baldsmith'). For more ideas about unique uses for maples in your landscape, contact us and we will provide suggestions.

8. Japanese maples can develop witch's brooms also! These genetic mutations are not exclusive to conifers.

Even more uncommon than brooms on conifers, maple brooms are often highly unique and unstable. This leads to difficulty in propagating and introducing a new variety found as a broom. One notable maple variety that was successfully introduced from a witch's broom is Shaina Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Shaina'). The original broom was found on the common variety 'Bloodgood'. Want to learn about witch's brooms? Read our witch's broom blog post here.

9. Many Japanese maple varieties that have been available in the U.S. for over 100 years are still popular!

12. Japanese maples are known for their fall color but a few are extraordinary

Notable Japanese maple varieties

Overall hardiest maple

The Trompenburg Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Trompenburg') is one of the overall hardiest and toughest maples we offer. We have had customers from the midwest and other areas who generally do not have luck with maples grow 'Trompenburg' with great success.

Finest foliage

Fairy Hair Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Fairy Hair') is a stunning maple with incredibly thin foliage.

Miniature Japanese maple

Some Japanese maples are slower growing than others but this one is tiny.


Unique colors

Most unique variegation

The Radiant Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Radiant') is a recent addition to our selection and features stunning pink and white variegation that looks like it was carefully painted on by hand.

Varieties with reticulated leaves

Reticulated leaves show prominent veins running through the structure of the foliage. This effect is displayed in many varieties, some of our favorites are:

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