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Red Leaf Japanese Maple Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum

Previously known as:

  • Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum'
Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser pal-MA-tum at-ro-pur-PUR-ee-um
Description

Red-leaf Japanese maple (Sapindaceae family) is a small, 25 foot high, maple variety with striking purple leaves that turn red in autumn. This plant is one of the most commercially valuable landscape trees because of its dramatic leaf characteristics. Japanese maple parent plants are native to southeast Korea and central and south Japan. Acer is Latin for sharp and palmatum means shaped like a hand, referring to the leaves. This variety name refers to the red/purple leaf color and is used for many red-leaved seedlings.

Typically the leaves turn red/purple in spring, but may fade to a green/bronze in summer heat. This slow-growing tree will remain quite small in colder climates (USDA zone 5). In warmer areas, it will benefit from afternoon shade and may need extra moisture if grown in full sun. Plant as a specimen or woodland tree in acid to neutral well-drained soil.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids, scale, maple worms, leafrollers, and leafhoppers are occasional pests. Anthracnose, leaf scorch, and frost damage, especially from late frosts, can occur.  It self-seeds easily so can spread and become weedy in the landscape.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#slow growing#weedy#red leaves#colorful leaves#self-seeding#heat intolerant#fall color#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#small tree#slow growing#weedy#red leaves#colorful leaves#self-seeding#heat intolerant#fall color#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    palmatum var atropupureum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    High
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Small red flowers on stalked umbrels that blossom in the spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Problems:
    Weedy