Acer palmatum, commonly known as Japanese maple, is a species of small deciduous tree or large shrub in the genus Acer. It is native to Japan, Korea, and China and is widely cultivated in temperate regions around the world for its attractive foliage and ornamental value.
The tree typically grows up to 6-10 meters (20-33 feet) tall with a spread of 4-8 meters (13-26 feet). It has a slow to moderate growth rate and a rounded shape with a short trunk and multiple stems.
The leaves of Acer palmatum are palmate with 5-7 deeply lobed, pointed, and serrated segments. They are typically 4-12 cm (1.6-4.7 inches) long and wide and have a delicate, lacy appearance. The leaves can vary in color from green to red, purple, and orange, depending on the cultivar and season.
Acer palmatum is known for its striking fall color, which ranges from deep red to bright orange and yellow. In spring, the tree produces small red or purple flowers that are followed by winged samaras, or "helicopter seeds," in early summer.
Japanese maple is a popular ornamental tree for gardens, parks, and urban landscapes. It is well-suited for container planting and can be trained as a bonsai. Many cultivars are available, including dwarf and variegated forms.