Amagi shigure Acer palmatum

'Amagi shigure' Acer palmatum

Acer palmatum 'Amagi Shigure'

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Revered in Japan, North Korea, South Korea and parts of Mongolia and Russia, 'Amagi shigure' is a small smooth Japanese Maple popular for its beautiful leaf shapes and changing colors. Featuring bright brick-red leaves with black veins, this cultivar turns striking shades of orange, red and purple in fall. Trade Gallon (3 Quart).

The tree's leaves, which grow to about 3 inches wide with 5 to 7 lobes and double-serrate edges is native to lower altitudes in central and southern Japan. Genetic variation is common with seedlings from the same parent tree owning different traits such color, shape and leaf size.

Developed and cultivated in Japan and other areas with similar temperate climate for centuries, the first specimen of 'Agami shigure' reached England in 1820. Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg made sketches of the tree that would eventually become connected with oriental gardens.

Palmatum refers to the hand-like shapes of the tree's leaves. Many cultivars have been developed over the years and become popular with bonsai growers. The best-selling cultivars are red, followed by green.

Suitable for borders and ornamental paths due to its compact, non-invasive roots system, 'Amagi shigure' prefers moist, well-drained soil and grows best with minimal fertilizer. In China, the branches and leaves are used for medicinal purposes.

Many growers prune 'Amagi shigure' and other Palmatum as artist expression, shaping it and thinning out braches to expose the finest branches. Pruning is only necessary to remove dead branches, though many growers thin out the tree to showcase the plant's strongest branches.

Distinguishing between Japanese Maples can be difficult due to hybridization and the phenotypical variables within each species. Palmatum is a frequent rootstock for other species.