Acer palmatum

Japanese Maple


Arbor Harbor, 78 Sun Lane, Millersville PA


Len Eiserer


To get a 4-color effect for a week or two during the fall, two varieties of Japanese Maple were planted in the same hole so as to give the impression of a single tree: ‘Bloodgood’, which has purple leaves in summer and red leaves in fall; and ‘Hogyoku’, which has green leaves in summer and yellow leaves in fall.


Neither tree changes leaf color all at once, but instead does so gradually. Thus Bloodgood is for a week or two partly purple and partly red; and Ho- gyoku is for a time partly green and partly yellow. Catch things just right and you’re staring at a four-color tree: some leaves are purple, some are green, some are red, and some are yellow. At Arbor Harbor the color dis- play is now muted because the maples are, years later, shaded by larger trees; planting in full sun would have maxi- mized the effect.


This amazing species invariably grows to only about 25 feet in North America but in its native Japan, 50-foot trees are not uncommon.