Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Japanese Maple: Flower Action

Fig. 1  Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'   leafing and flowering. (March 26, 2011)
Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is valued for its beautiful leaves and desirable form as a tree.  Different varieties come in different colors, shape of leaves and growth habit.   In early spring, the leaves and flowers come out at the same time.  Depending on weather conditions, the canopy cover grows so fast that the flowers go unnoticed until the samaras increase in size to be noticeable.  
Although the wind was still gusty after the storm, I went out in between rain showers.  I thought that I'd take pictures of the Japanese maple trees in my backyard with special emphasis on the developing flowers.

Fig. 2    Clusters of small flowers mimic the color of the new branches and leaves.

Fig. 3    Current year's branches coming out of older trunks.

Fig. 4    Red flowers are borne on the ends of the previous year's branches.

Fig. 5     Acer palmatum  dissectum 'Viridis' with drooping branches.
Fig. 6    Propped-up branch for a peek of the flower buds.

 Fig. 7   The four-year old Japanese maple do not have flowers as of this year.

My observations:
  1. Flowers are borne on new growths of the previous year's branches (Fig.1 and 4)
  2. Branches arising from old woody trunks do not flower on the first year (Fig. 3).
  3. Japanese maple grown from seeds takes several years (at least more than 4 years) before they flower (Fig. 7).
Plants growth is defined by nature's parameters - our role as gardeners is to figure them out.


Unknown said...

Great photos of an incredible tree! Thanks for all the info to go with it.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I so miss having Japanese Maples in the garden, and seeing the lovely blooms in spring. Our first garden had some lovely specimens. My favorite was the 'Full Moon' Maple with its brilliant fall color. Then we moved to the Central Valley...the one Maple I planted in shade was fried to a crisp. Here, the deer think they're haute cuisine. I'd love at some point to have a small enclosed area here where I can grow a few. We have a great climate for them by the coast...just too many ravenous ruminants at the moment!

TheGardeningBlog said...

Having a Japanese Maple in my garden is high on my "Wish List"!

LisaJennings said...

What beautiful captures! I love the Japanese Maples unique unfurling of leaving and dropping of flowers in unison. If I only had the spot for one in our garden...

Anonymous said...

Really good photos and the Japanese Maple has a special place in my heart. I love this tree and it is the logo image for my business.

Masha said...

I love looking at Japanese maples when they are just leafing out and the growth is not tired and burned as it often is here at summer's end. I love their flowers too. Thanks for reminding me to look out for them.

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Stone Art's Blog said...

Lovely photos of a lovely tree. With such amazing foliage you don't see photos of the flowers too often.

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