The Japanese maple (acer palmatum bloodgood) is a deciduous tree with a round canopy, rarely growing more than 6 feet high. It gets its name from the palmate shape of leaf. The tree may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground. Today there are over a hundreds of cultivars of this tree; the Bloodgood is a non-dissected cultivar with deep reddish foliage and red samaras in fall. There are hundreds of garden cultivars of this species showing a wide range of color and leaf shape. The types include ‘Atropurpureum’ which has deep red –purple foliage which turns brilliant red in autumn. ‘Senkaki’, also known as the Coral Bark Maple which has small leaves maturing to oragne-yellow and bronze in autumn; its leaves unfold in spring from slender buds and its winter shoots are bright pink. ‘Ribesifolium’ has currant-like leaves and is a small compact small plant of 16’ height. ‘Linearilobum Atropurpureum’ has spidery, red-purple leaves; its samaras are tinged red and hang in small clusters. This tree is a slow grower achieving in youth 10 – 15’ in a decade. This species was introduced to Europeans in 1783 but a trade embargo with Japan delayed its introduction into western cultivation until 1820. Acer is the Latin name for maple trees. ‘Bloodgood’ is a non-dissected type of A. palmatum that grows into a small rounded deciduous tree of 15 – 20’ height; it has purplish red flowers in spring, deep reddish purple summer foliage, red samaras. Palmate leaves, 5 -7 lobes. Shrub may be multistemmed.
Common name: Japanes maple ‘Bloodgood’
Scientific Name (family and order): Acer palmatum Thunberg ‘Bloodgood’ (Sapindaceae, Sapindales)
Species Origin: China, Japan , Korea
New Jersey Status: USDA Introduced (in reference to type species)
Habit: Small tree to large shrub. 10 – 25’ tall x 10 – 30’ wide; bole 8 – 12”.
Habitat: Zones 5 -8; found in thickets.
Trunk/Stem: Bark brown-gray smooth. Contorted trunk and branches. Leaves in horizontal layering.
Leaves: Deciduous, Simple, Opposite. Overall leaf pattern is round with a cordate base. Palmately lobed, 5 – 7 deeply-divided, taper-pointed, double-serrated margin; 2-4” long and 4” across; bright green, smooth with tuft hairs in the vein axils beneath. Turning red-orange in autumn. Petiole is thin, glabrous, green or red and long (2”).
Flowers: Monoecious. Small red purple in upright to drooping stalked umbels of up to 20 individual flowers in spring as the leaves emerge. Red sepals and white petals.
Fruits and seeds: Joined pair of samara with green or red wings, 3/8”; obtuse angle. Pedicels may remain after the samaras shed.