Scientific name: Acer palmatum
Common name: Japanese Maple
Family: Sapinadaceae—New Latin, sapnidus, from the Latin word sapo “soap”, and indus, meaning from India.
Habitat: The Japanese maple prefers moist, well-drained soil in partial shade.
Identifiers: Smaller than the regular Japanese maple, the cultivar Shindeshojo will grow to a height between 5-7 ft tall and equally as wide. It is slow-growing, upright, and shrubby with reddish-brown bark on new growth. Its leaves, prized as having the best red spring folliage out of all other Japanese maple cultivars, are quite small. They only grow to 2 inches in length and typically have 7 serrated lobes. In summer, these leaves turn from a bright red to a reddish-green and change again in autumn to different shades of organge and red. The shindeshojo’s flowers are small and not very showy. The fruit of this tree, like other maple trees, is a winged samara. These are green to red in color and mature in early autumn.
Description: Acer is the Latin word for maple tree and means “sharp”; palmatum is referencing the palmate nature of the leaf of the Japanese maple. The lobes of the leaf look like outstretched fingers giving the leaf a hand-like appearance.
2019-0001A; existing plant; 11/30/2019; from a cultivated plant not of known wild origin;
Hale & Hines Nursery, Inc.
Range: Native to Japan.
The Japanese maple has been enjoyed by humans for centuries upon centuries. Hailing from Japan, there are mentions of this tree all the way back to the 7th century, and there is evidence of intentional cultivation starting in the 1600s.The Edo Period, from 1600-1867, saw rapid growth in the maple cultivars. The natural variations in the maple trees paired with intentional cross pollination culminated in creating over 250 different Japanese maple cultivars. The Shindeshojo cultivar is one such variation.
Sadly, there was a time when the continuance of these cultivars was threatened. The two world wars, especially the calamity of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, wiped out many maples. What wasn’t destroyed was later cut down and used for firewood. The 1960s saw a revitalization in interest of these beautiful trees.
The summer foliage of the Japanese maple is vibrant, but its fall colors are truly stunning. Japanese maples are well known for their rich, vivid autumnal colors. In Japan, “hunting for autumn foliage,” has been a pastime for centuries. A collection of poetry from the 8th century titled Manyoshu (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”) describes this pastime.
There are four cultivars of Japanese maple present in Delano Park. Even with just these four cultivars, they are wildly different and entirely beautiful.
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“Acer.” Online Etymology Dictionary. https://www.etymonline.com/word/acer
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“Acer palmatum.” NC State Extension. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/acer-palmatum/
Joan Lee Faust. “Gardening: Centuries are Kind to the Japanese Maple. The New York Times. November 22, 1992. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/22/nyregion/gardening-centuries-are-kind-to-the-japanese-maple.html#:~:text=In%20Japan%2C%20the%20Acer%20palmatum,known%20by%20their%20Japanese%20names.
Maheen Zakaria and Benjamin Klempay. “Japanese Maple.” Yale Nature Walk. February 4, 2015. https://naturewalk.yale.edu/trees/aceraceae/acer-palmatum/japanese-maple-42
“Brief Overview of Japanese Maple.” Encyclopedia Japan. https://doyouknowjapan.com/maple/
"Acer palmatum 'Shindeshojo'." Missouri Botanical Garden. https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=241558
"Acer palmatum 'Shindeshojo.'" Oregon State University. https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/acer-palmatum-shindeshojo
"Acer palmatum 'Shin-Deshojo.'" Gardenia. https://www.gardenia.net/plant/acer-palmatum-shin-deshojo-japanese-maple