The Q&A Archives: Split Red Leaf Maple

Question: I recently purchased a red split leaf maple tree. Would you be able to tell me whether or not this is a Japanese tree?

Answer: Unfortunately, I can't tell you for sure although it sounds like you may have a variety of Japanese maple (there are hundreds if not thousands of diffrent varieties available). The Latin name for Japanese maple is Acer palmatum, in case that shows up anywhere on the plant label. Perhaps the best way to find out is to compare the buds on your tree with those of a known Japanese maple. They are quite distinctive and have a sort of hairy collar at the base of each. For a picture you might look at the diagrams in Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.

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