Japanese Maples aren’t usually planted for their fall color, which is a pity. Our various seedlings tend to fall into two types of color: pure scarlet or flame orange. (and a lot of muddy ones where the red just doesn’t quite do it, but is definitely red) A few are orange. The greener the bark, the oranger the coloration in the fall. In general, the orange/green have relatively green summer foliage, which is probably why they are less common (until recently we tended to select on the basis of summer foliage).  For one reason or another, we decided to plant two rather nice green ones flanking the drive, I decided I liked them, and we have since added several more. Which means that we have succeeded, somewhat not accidentally in developing what (in several decades) will be a real grouping of orange maples in the Rabbit Hole drive, an accomplishment that really was only apparent this year, as several are very small still.  The fall color, no surprise, comes from the two different parents, along with the trunk/twig coloration. The orange seems to come from the fine cut-leafed dwarf maple parent, the red from the bigger, rather coarsely cut full sized parent. The red is always a pure color with no shading on the leaf. The orange tends to shade towards the veins/edges, creating an appearance similar to Stewartia or Dogwoods, where the tree is not a single color.

Unfortunately, the coarser shape appears to be the dominant gene in determining leaf shape, though the orange ones are slightly finer. Only one ever approached the parent type, and it died on me (naturally). Red is also the more common fall color.




Orange: (all of these are still fairly small), but you can see the green cast to the bark on branches over about 2 years in age, which is the giveaway; the reds have purple bark.