Kinds of Japanese Maples

Japanese maple trees, known botanically as Acer palmatum are small deciduous and slow growing trees native to Asia and prized for their richly colored foliage. Several dozen known varieties exist and most reach a maximum height of between 6 and 25 feet, so they are commonly grown as understory or specimen trees. The leaf color varies widely by cultivar and evolves over the growing seasons. Japanese maples can have upright, spreading or even weeping growth form depending on the cultivar and are a popular plant choice for use in bonsai.


Moonfire is a maple with deep purple to reddish black leaves that maintains this hue during the heat of summer with minimal fade. The leaves brighten to red in the fall. It reaches 12 to 15 feet at maturity, is a speedy grower for the species and has a spreading canopy.


Butterfly is a variegated leaf maple with grey to blue-green leaves surrounded by whitish pink edges. A slow growing version of the palmatum species, it reaches a maximum of 15 feet in height at maturity.

Crimson Queen

Crimson Queen produces bright red leaves and the canopy has a spreading fountain-like or weeping growth habit. It is slow to grow and reaches 10 feet in maximum height at maturity.

Baron Bloodgood

Baron bloodgood is a deep reddish and black leaf variety of maple and the leaves lighten to bright red in the fall. It has a wide spreading upper canopy and sturdy branching and an upright habit reaching 20 feet in height. It is on the slower growing side of palmatums. The bark is decoratively tinged with hues of black and red.


Versicolor has a variegated leaf that combines mid-tone green and white in a range of patterns including streaking, blotching and small irregular spots. It is a larger form palmatum reaching up to 25 feet in height.

Keywords: Japanese maple cultivars, types of Japanese maples, choosing a Japanese maple tree

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An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.