Scientific Name: Acer palmatum
- Order: Sapindales
- Family: Sapindaceae
- Genus: Acer
- Species: A. palmatum
With green leaves that turn orange, red, or purple leaves in the fall, Japanese maple trees are often considered a “must-have” ornamental garden tree. They are slow-growing, but last a long time — some can be over a hundred years old!
Native to Asia, Japanese maple trees can stand upright or have its branches cascading down. They also come in different shapes and sizes, as well as hundreds of varieties. Some cultivars are dwarf-sized, so they can even be grown in containers. In fact, just within the species, the shape of the leaves can differ, some being more slender than others. The Japanese maple can be both a shrub and a tree, and it produces seeds with “wings,” so they can travel far in the wind.
In Japan, these maple leaves are deep-fried, and this delicacy is called momiji tempura. Taking nearly a year to make, the dish is said to taste sweet and salty.