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Botanical Name: Acer palmatum (Amoenum Group)
Common Name: Japanese Maple
Notable Feature: It is particularly noted for its vibrant, crimson red fall color. However, it is the leaf shape that separates this particular maple from other Japanese maple groups. Each palmate leaf is cupped at the base and has five to seven serrated lobes.
Habit: This deciduous, upright tree with a rounded crown typically grows to 15 to 25 feet tall and about 10 to 15 feet wide.
Flower: Species is monoecious (male and female flowers occur separately on same tree); females flowers are small, reddish purple, in terminal hanging clusters in mid to late spring. The flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance.
Foliage: Leaves are 1 ½ to 2 ½” long with serrated edges and remain a deep purple throughout the growing season.
Fruit: Flowers are followed by two-winged seed pods (samaras) which ripen in September to October.
Interesting Fact: Caltech professor David Lentink states "The twirling fruit (samaras) of maple trees spin like miniature helicopters as they fall to the ground. The leading edge of the spinning seeds provides lift by generating a tornado-like vortex. Because the seeds descend slowly as they swirl, they can be carried aloft by the wind and dispersed over great distances”.