The beautiful and ubiquitous Japanese maple is a garden staple. A native of eastern Asia, this medium-sized deciduous tree has a broad rounded canopy and packs a powerful punch when it comes to ornamental value. Its palmate foliage purple or burgundy-red, and can turn vivid shades of yellow, bronze orange or red in fall. Like all maples, it bears inconspicuous flowers in the spring. These are followed by red or green helicopter-like fruits called samaras. In winter, the stark gray branches and elegant habit of a mature Japanese maple will add interest to any landscape.
This adaptable tree prefers sites with rich, well drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It self-sows with efficacy, but this should not dissuade anyone from planting it.