Maple, Japanese Red Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum

Japanese Red Maple - Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum
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A showy, versatile species. Use as a single specimen or in borders or groupings. Can be a single-stemmed small tree or multi-stemmed shrub. The deeply lobed leaves are red or reddish-purple especially in spring and fall usually turning green in the summer. Seed grown. Grows to 15' to 25', 20' spread. (zones 5-8)

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Zones 5 - 8 Zones 5 - 8
Hardiness Zones 5 - 8
The Japanese Red Maple can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the zone map. View Map
Ornamental Tree Ornamental Tree
Type of tree
Ornamental Trees
15' - 25' High 15' - 25' High
Mature Height
The Japanese Red Maple grows to be 15' - 25' feet in height.
20' Spread 20' Spread
Mature Spread
The Japanese Red Maple has a spread of about 20' at full maturity.
Slow to Medium Growth Slow to Medium Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a slow to medium growth rate. More about this.
Partial Shade Partial Shade
This maple does well in partial shade, full shade.
Various Soils Various Soils
The Japanese Red Maple grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well drained, clay soils.
Rounded Shape Rounded Shape
This maple has rounded, vase shape.

The Japanese Red Maple variety atropurpureum adds a touch of unequaled beauty to any home or landscape. It is upright in form and features attractive deep reddish purple foliage, especially in spring and fall. Summer color will often be green.


Japanese red maple in the cultivar group atropurpureum is a versatile, ornamental, hardy small tree or multi-stemmed shrub. The deeply lobed 5-7-9 leaves are red or reddish-purple in spring and again in fall. In between, color varies from remaining red all summer to sometimes fading slightly with maturity or summer heat and even turning green. The paired, winged samaras are red and ripen in early autumn. The bark is fairly smooth. Young stems are green to reddish purple and red turning gray with age. Japanese maples prefer slightly acidic, moist, well-drained soil, and dappled shade; although if too much shade will grow slower and turn more green. Young leaves will need protection from high winds or late spring frosts. Water during dry periods. It is important to keep soil moisture consistent avoiding alternating dry and wet periods. This tree can be used for a specimen, accent, shrub border, grouping, or bonsai. Grows to 15' to 25', 20' spread. (zones 5-8)

Wildlife Value

Squirrels and chipmunks are very fond of maple seeds. The seeds, buds, and flowers are also eaten by grouse, quail and many songbirds.


The Japanese word "momiji" is sometimes applied to this tree in its native land. The word is said to have two meanings, both of them appropriate for the description of this wonderful tree: "baby's hands" and " becomes crimson leaves." 'Atropurpureum' means dark purple. Japanese Red Maple is a tree that has been cultured intensively for over 300 years and retains a special place in the heart of all who love exotic trees.


Some drought resistance when established. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.


Leaves are simple, opposite, up to 4" long, 5-7-9 lobes spread symmetrically from a central point like fingers from the palm of a hand. Color is red or purplish-red in the spring and fall. In summer the color varies depending upon the variety or cultivar from red to green. For example, when the variety atropurpureum is seed grown, the color usually fades to green with summer heat or maturity. In grafted cultivars of atropurpureum like 'Bloodgood' the color remains deep reddish purple throughout the summer.

Flower Color

Small, red to purple, not vivid, inconspicuous.

Bloom Time


Fruit Description

Red colored winged seeds (samara) joined in pairs, 1/2 to 1 inch long, wings 1/4 to 3/8 inches long.