Common Names: Japanese maple, smooth Japanese-maple, lace-leaf maple
The Japanese maple comes in many different cultivars that vary in leaf pattern and color. They have been traditionally used to make bonsai. Acer palmatum is a deciduous shrub or small tree reaching heights of 6 to 10 m, rarely 16 meters, often growing as an understory plant in shady woodlands. It may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground. In habit, it is often shaped like a hemisphere (especially when younger) or takes on a dome-like form, especially when mature. The leaves are 4 to 12 cm long and wide, palmately lobed with five, seven, or nine acutely pointed lobes. The flowers are produced in small cymes, the individual flowers with five red or purple sepals and five whitish petals. The fruit is a pair of winged samaras, each samara 2 to 3 cm long with a 6 to 8 mm seed. The seeds of Japanese maple and similar species require stratification in order to germinate.
Although not a native tree to Connecticut, they are often used in landscaping and their seeds migrate and they can be often found in the woods as well.