This Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) grows in my back yard. I think I already mentioned that there are thousands of species of maples worldwide. Only seven or so are true natives of my region. People sure like to plant trees, though, so many species can be found here that weren’t here “originally” – whatever that means! There are many subspecies and cultivars of this tree. They are very pretty and used extensively in landscaping. In its native habitat, it is an understory shrub or small tree.
I love this tree. It is a nice, low-growing tree with lots of sturdy branches making it a great climbing tree. My kids have both enjoyed that! Best of all is the story our neighbors told us about this tree when we first moved in:
Hilda Carlson, the previous owner of our house, is reported to have yanked a little seedling out of the ground from nearby Panama Rocks, where this species has apparently naturalized. She planted it next to the garage and tended it carefully. (I don’t know if the story is true or not. I choose to believe it… just because it’s a cool story!)
It was already a sizable shade tree when we moved in. It has continued to grow in heighth and overall diameter. The leaves are a dark green with a reddish tint in summer and turn the most brilliant fire-red in fall. I love this tree. (Oops… already said that!)