Cover image for Japanese maples : momiji and kaede
Japanese maples : momiji and kaede
Vertrees, J. D.
Personal Author:
Third edition, revised and expanded / by Peter Gregory.
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
332 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB413.J34 V47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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Among the first titles published in 1978, with more than 150,000 copies in print in three editions, Japanese Maples is a Timber Press classic. Japanese maples are unlike any other tree. They boast a remarkable diversity of color, form, and texture. As a result of hundreds of years of careful breeding, they take the center stage in any garden they are found. In the last decade, the number of Japanese maple cultivars available to gardeners has doubled and there is a pressing need for an up-to-date reference. This new fourth edition offers detailed descriptions of over 150 new introductions, updates to plant nomenclature, and new insights into established favorites. Gardeners will relish the practical advice that puts successful cultivation within everyone's grasp. Accurate identification is made simple with over 600 easy-to-follow descriptions and 500 color photographs.

Author Notes

Michael Buckley is the bestselling author of the Sisters Grimm and NERDS series and a new picture book, Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show . He has also written and developed shows for Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Discovery Channel. He lives in Brooklyn. Visit

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Few woody plants are so widely and enthusiastically cultivated as are the Japanese maples. Vertrees's work (1st ed., CH, Oct'78; 2nd ed., 1987), revised and augmented by Gregory for this new edition, stands as the authoritative treatment of the group. The Japanese maples have long been used in landscapes for their leaf and twig color and their distinctive branching patterns. Most of the many varieties are derived from a single species, Acer palmatum, which is treated in detail, but the more than 100 species of maples found in Japan are also described and illustrated. History, cultivation methods, and propagation practices are covered. The many color illustrations, essential for studying these trees, add to the usefulness of the book. A series of appendixes give details on named varieties and those not fully documented; there is also a guide to the uses and characteristics of the varieties. The book is well presented on glossy paper, the prose is engaging, and the descriptions are informative. Whether planting a single specimen tree or seriously collecting maples, this is the reference book to consult. General readers; professionals. D. H. Pfister Harvard University



I admit prejudice, but I feel this group of plants has one of the greatest ranges of use and beauty of any horticultural plants in use today. The diversity of size, color, form, shape, and utility is so great that, when Japanese maples are selected wisely, they will fit almost any need. We do not think of them as flowering shrubs. Even though maples have very interesting blossoms, some quite colorful, they are not a predominant characteristic. Many people do not even realize that they flower. Blossoms of many cultivars, such as Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', are quite striking, though not large and perhaps of interest only to the more discerning gardener. However, the lack of bold blossoms is more than offset by the great variation of leaf color and shape which these plants can add to the color of the garden landscape. Spring foliage among the cultivars offers a wide choice in plant selection. In the larger forms, there are the bold greens with rust or tangerine tones in the new foliage. The brilliant reds, orange reds, and maroons of many upright palmatums will lend accent to plantings. Wide choices also are possible with the variegated white-pink-green leaves of such maples as 'Asahi zuru', 'Kasen nishiki', 'Oridono nishiki', and many others. Nothing could look more like flowering shrubs than the extraordinary shell pinks found in 'Corallinum', 'Karasu gawa', and 'Matsugae'. The eye can never pass lightly over the flare of color presented by the brilliant flaming foliage of 'Beni komachi', 'Chishio', 'Seigai', or 'Shin deshôjô', to name only a few. These brilliant fire-reds, crimsons, and tangerine-reds are so intense at times as to be almost fluorescent. All these color combinations occur in the larger, more upright forms. The same choices occur in dwarf cultivars which lend themselves to small companion plantings or container growing. Unusual types such as 'Higasa yama' have a "flower" quality as the new buds unfold. They open much like popcorn with irregular unfolding leaves colored in yellows and reds. 'Tsuma gaki' has new foliage which approaches a floral display. These stages last for several weeks, thus giving a long "flower" period. All the colored foliage retains its brilliance for at least one or two months, which is longer than the period for which most of our flowering shrubs will perform. The dissectums offer unusual brilliance and delicacy. Combinations of lacelike tracery of form, plus crimson, maroon, green-red, or variegated white-pink-green tones blend in the most pleasing way with the delicate cascading of the plant form. These make breathtaking specimen plants. They are even more striking when planted in groups in the proper setting. A second color display occurs each fall, which is surely an added bonus when compared to most flowering shrubs. This show of fall foliage color is absolutely spectacular. The bold green 'Ôsakazuki', for example, adds a strong green accent all season. Then in the fall it bursts forth with the most vivid crimson flame display imaginable. Even in early morning light or late evening dusk, the tones carry a fluorescent quality that demands attention. Equally vivid, but of a different crimson tonality, is the display of Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', the fern-leaf japonicum. I hesitate to list specific cultivars, fearing readers will limit their thinking to just these few, when the possibilities are almost limitless. The several cultivars in the Palmatum Group all present vivid yellow, orange, and orange red foliage. Most of the selections of A. japonicum are outstanding for fall color. The delicate golden fullmoon maple, A. shirasawanum 'Aureum', follows the spring display of chartreuse-yellow-green with a fall display of gold, crimson, and orange, blended at times with purple overtones. One must see to believe. Photo above: Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' or Fern-leaf maple. Excerpted from Japanese Maples: Momiji and Keade by J. D. Vertrees, Peter Gregory All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. 9
Preface to the Third Editionp. 11
Preface to the Second Editionp. 15
Chapter 1 Character and Historyp. 21
What Is a Japanese Maple?p. 21
Momiji and Kaedep. 22
The Character of Japanese Maplesp. 23
Variegationp. 27
In Regard to Fup. 29
History of Japanese Cultivarsp. 30
Old Literature on Japanese Maplesp. 32
Chapter 2 Taxonomy and Nomenclaturep. 35
The Taxonomy of Maplesp. 35
Taxonomy of Acer palmatump. 38
Nomenclature - Difficulties and Confusionp. 39
The Naming of Plantsp. 42
The Naming of Cultivarsp. 43
Chapter 3 Culturep. 47
Culture in the Gardenp. 47
Pests and Diseasesp. 70
Chapter 4 Propagationp. 81
Seedling Productionp. 81
Graftingp. 89
Cuttingsp. 97
Layeringp. 98
Chapter 5 Acer palmatum and Its Cultivarsp. 103
Chapter 6 Other Acer Species from Japan and Their Cultivarsp. 239
Appendix A Japanese Names and Their Meaningsp. 275
Appendix B Guide to Uses and Characteristicsp. 278
Appendix C Cultivars Not Yet Assessedp. 286
Appendix D Cultivar Names Not Elsewhere Describedp. 299
Appendix E The Maple Societyp. 304
Glossaryp. 306
Bibliographyp. 308
Indexp. 312