Acer leaf shapes

We have several non Acer palmatum Japanese maple cultivars e.g. 
  • Acer Japonicum aconitifolium ‘The Fern Leaf Maple’ ‘Maiku jaku’ ‘Dancing Peacock’, 
  • Acer Shirasawanaum ‘Aureum’ (Golden Full Moon Maple) 
  • Acer shirasawanum 'Jordan'. 

However, as for most Japanese maple cultivars, the majority of cultivars in our garden, belong to the Acer palmatum species. 

Subspecies of Acer palmatum: 
  • subs. palmatum 
  • subs. amoenum 
  • subs. matsumarae

Acer Palmatum Descriptive groups
The Acer palmatums are divided into seven descriptive groups, which are mainly based on leaf shape.These include: palmate types: large leaves that look like your hand. Deeply divided types: the leaves are divided down to the petiole. Dissected leaf types: the leaves are fine and deeply dissected or serrated. Other: these include variegated leaf types and linear lobum or line-leaf types. 

  • Palmatum Group
    Have small leaves which are divided more than half the distance to the leaf base usually into five to seven lobes in a palm shape with coarsely toothed margins e.g. Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’, Acer palmatum ‘Oridono nishiki’, Acer palmatum Senkaki/Sango kaku (one of the Coral Bark Maples), Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, Acer palmatum ‘Deshojo',

  • Amoenum Group
    The leaves are larger and are usually divided down to about half way down the leaf into seven lobes in a palm shape with finely toothed margins e.g. Acer palmatum ‘Tsuma gaki’, Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’

  • Matsumurae Group
    The leaves are larger, normally with seven to nine lobes which are usually deeply divided to around three quarters of the leaf, or even to the leaf base. The lobes have coarsely toothed margins and the ends of the lobes are narrow and pointed e.g Acer palmatum ‘Trompenburg, Acer palmatum ’Ariadne’, Acer Palmatum Elegans 

  • Linearilobum Group
    Long, narrow, strap-like lobes which are very deeply divided almost to the leaf base. Unlike the Dissectum Group, Linearilobums have lobes which are not sub-divided. The edges are generally only lightly serrated e.g Acer palmatum ‘Beni otake’, Acer palmatum 'Villa Taranto'

  • Dissectum Group
    Commonly referred to as lace leaf. The leaves have five or more lobes with each lobe being very deeply subdivided into narrow sub-lobes normally with finely serrated edges.e.g Acer palmatum dissectum (Laceleaf) 'Crimson Queen', Acer palmatum ‘Kinshi’ ,Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’, Acer palmatum dissectum viridans Acer palmatum dissectum 'Viridis' (Green Lace Leaf Japanese Maple)

  • Dwarf Group
    Dwarf cultivars mature height does not usually exceed 2m (6ft 6in) e.g. Acer palmatum ‘Aratama’. We have some acers whose mature height might be slightly larger than 'dwarf' but are quite small and slow growing e.g Acer palmatum 'Shaina', Acer palmatum ‘Villa Tarranto’

  • Other Palmatum Group 
    Acer Palmatum cultivars that can not be placed into any of the above groups.