The Most Popular Japanese Maple: Ranking the Most Beloved Varieties

Choose the maple you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 19, 2024 07:14
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinions branch out and take root! We're thrilled to present you with our latest ranking: "What is the most popular Japanese maple?". With countless captivating cultivars to choose from, we've narrowed it down to a list of top contenders – but we need your help to crown the ultimate fan favorite. Unleash your inner dendrologist and cast your vote for the most mesmerizing maple, or suggest a missing option that deserves its moment in the sun. Together, let's branch out and explore the enchanting world of Japanese maples, where every leaf tells a story. So, don't 'leaf' us hanging – dive in and let your voice be heard!

What Is the Most Popular Japanese Maple?

  1. 1
    This is the most commonly planted and widely recognized Japanese maple cultivar. It has a beautiful, delicate foliage and comes in a variety of colors, including green, red, and purple.
    Acer palmatum, commonly known as Japanese maple, is a deciduous tree native to Japan, Korea, and China. It is highly regarded for its stunning ornamental foliage and graceful growth habit. The tree typically reaches a height of 6 to 10 meters and features delicate leaves that are palmate in shape, with deeply lobed and serrated margins. The foliage displays various colors throughout the year, including vibrant shades of green, red, orange, and yellow depending on the cultivar and season.
    • Scientific Name: Acer palmatum
    • Family: Sapindaceae
    • Height: 6-10 meters
    • Foliage: Deciduous
    • Leaf Shape: Palmate
  2. 2
    Acer japonicum (Fullmoon maple)
    SB_Johnny · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This maple has a larger, broader leaf than the Acer palmatum and can grow up to 20 ft tall. It has a deep green color and is known for its fall colors of orange and red.
    Acer japonicum, commonly known as the Fullmoon maple, is a deciduous tree native to Japan. It is a popular species of Japanese maple known for its stunning fall foliage and distinctive palmate leaves. The leaves have seven to eleven lobes and are deeply divided, giving them a unique and intricate appearance. The display of vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors during autumn makes it a highly sought-after ornamental tree for gardens and landscapes.
    • Origin: Japan
    • Leaf Type: Palmate
    • Common Name: Fullmoon Maple
    • Scientific Name: Acer japonicum
    • Plant Type: Deciduous Tree
  3. 3
    Acer shirasawanum (Shirasawa's maple)
    André Abrahami · CC BY-SA 2.5
    This maple has a unique, almost triangular-shaped leaf that is bright green in spring and turns orange and yellow in fall. It is a slow-growing species that can reach up to 20 ft in height.
    Acer shirasawanum, commonly known as Shirasawa's maple, is a highly popular Japanese maple tree. It is named after the Japanese botanist, Yoshimatsu Shirasawa, who discovered it in the early 20th century. This beautiful tree is highly regarded for its stunning foliage and graceful growth habit.
    • Leaf color: Ranges from vibrant green to golden yellow and orange
    • Leaf shape: Palmate with five to seven pointed lobes
    • Size: Typically grows up to 30 feet tall and wide
    • Sun exposure: Prefers partial shade, especially in hotter climates
    • Fall color: Displays brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold
  4. 4
    Acer buergerianum (Trident maple)
    Hurricanefan24 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This maple has a three-lobed, bright green leaf that turns a beautiful red color in the fall. It is a fast-growing tree that can reach up to 30 ft in height.
    Acer buergerianum, commonly known as Trident maple, is a deciduous tree that belongs to the family Aceraceae. It is native to East Asia, particularly China, Taiwan, and Japan. The tree is highly regarded for its ornamental value and is widely cultivated as a popular Japanese maple.
    • Height: 20-35 feet
    • Spread: 15-25 feet
    • Foliage Color: Green, turning brilliant shades of orange-red in autumn
    • Leaf Shape: Trident-shaped, with three distinct lobes
    • Bark: Smooth when young, developing fissures with age
  5. 5
    This maple has a unique peeling bark that reveals a cinnamon-colored trunk. It has a beautiful, delicate foliage that turns a deep red in the fall. It is a slow-growing tree that can reach up to 30 ft in height.
    Acer griseum, commonly known as Paperbark maple, is a small deciduous tree that is native to central China. It is widely admired for its stunning ornamental qualities, particularly its attractive peeling cinnamon-colored bark. The leaves of this maple species also offer an exquisite display, turning from deep green in spring and summer to vibrant shades of red, orange, and bronze in autumn. The Paperbark maple is a popular choice among gardeners and landscape designers due to its unique appearance and adaptability to various soil and climatic conditions.
    • Family: Sapindaceae
    • Genus: Acer
    • Species: Acer griseum
    • Common Name: Paperbark Maple
    • Origin: Central China
  6. 6
    This maple is native to the Pacific Northwest and has the largest leaves of all the maples. It has a beautiful, vibrant green color and turns a bright yellow in the fall. It can grow up to 100 ft in height.
    Acer macrophyllum, commonly known as Bigleaf maple, is one of the most popular Japanese maples. It is native to western North America and is highly admired for its large leaves and attractive foliage color. This deciduous tree can grow up to 50 feet tall and has a spreading crown, providing ample shade in gardens and parks. The Bigleaf maple is widely cultivated and appreciated for its ornamental value in landscaping projects and urban green spaces.
    • Common Name: Bigleaf maple
    • Scientific Name: Acer macrophyllum
    • Native to: Western North America
    • Average Height: Up to 50 feet
    • Foliage Type: Deciduous
  7. 7
    This maple is famous for its sweet sap that is used to make maple syrup. It has a beautiful, large leaf that turns a bright red in the fall. It can grow up to 100 ft in height.
    Acer saccharum, commonly known as Sugar maple, is a deciduous tree native to eastern North America. It is widely regarded as one of the most popular Japanese maple varieties, admired for its stunning fall foliage and impressive growth habit. The Sugar maple is known for its brilliant display of vibrant yellow, orange, and red leaves during autumn. It is a slow-to-moderate growing tree, typically reaching a height of 60-80 feet with a spread of 40-60 feet.
    • Scientific Name: Acer saccharum
    • Common Name: Sugar Maple
    • Native to: Eastern North America
    • Foliage: Deciduous
    • Fall Foliage Colors: Yellow, Orange, Red
  8. 8
    Acer rubrum (Red maple)
    Ftlombardo · CC BY 3.0
    This maple has a beautiful red color that appears in the early spring before the leaves emerge. It has a delicate foliage that turns a bright red in the fall. It can grow up to 100 ft in height.
    Acer rubrum, commonly known as Red maple, is a deciduous tree native to eastern North America. It belongs to the Aceraceae family and is highly valued for its attractive display of red foliage in the autumn. The tree typically grows between 40 to 60 feet tall, with a spread of 25 to 45 feet.
    • Scientific Name: Acer rubrum
    • Common Name: Red maple
    • Family: Aceraceae
    • Native Region: Eastern North America
    • Foliage: Red in autumn
  9. 9
    This maple has a unique, compound leaf that is green in the summer and turns a bright yellow in the fall. It is a fast-growing tree that can reach up to 50 ft in height.
    Acer negundo, commonly known as the Boxelder maple, is a species of maple native to North America. It belongs to the Sapindaceae family and is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree. The tree is known for its fast growth and ability to adapt to various soil types, making it a popular choice for landscaping and ornamental purposes.
    • Scientific name: Acer negundo
    • Common name: Boxelder maple
    • Family: Sapindaceae
    • Native to: North America
    • Tree type: Deciduous
  10. 10
    Acer campestre (Hedge maple)
    David Perez · CC BY 3.0
    This maple has a beautiful, delicate foliage that turns a bright yellow in the fall. It is a slow-growing tree that can reach up to 50 ft in height.
    Acer campestre, commonly known as Hedge maple, is a deciduous tree native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is renowned for its compact size and dense canopy, making it an excellent choice for hedging and landscaping purposes. The tree typically grows up to 10-15 meters in height, with a rounded crown and distinctive gray-brown bark. Its leaves are small and palmate-shaped, turning vibrant shades of yellow and orange during the autumn season.
    • Height: 10-15 meters
    • Crown Shape: Rounded
    • Bark Color: Gray-brown
    • Leaf Type: Deciduous
    • Leaf Shape: Palmate

Missing your favorite maple?


Ranking factors for popular maple

  1. Cultivar popularity
    Some Japanese maple cultivars are more popular due to their unique features, like leaf color, shape, growth habits, and size. Look for cultivars with a wide range of popularity, both among gardening enthusiasts and landscape designers.
  2. Aesthetic appeal
    Japanese maples are prized for their attractive foliage, which can be vibrant red, orange, pink, or green. The leaves may change color throughout the seasons, and some cultivars have variegated or finely dissected foliage. The overall form and branching patterns of the tree should also be considered.
  3. Hardiness
    Hardiness is an important factor when selecting a Japanese maple. Some cultivars may be more cold-tolerant or heat-tolerant than others, which can affect their popularity in different regions or climates.
  4. Availability
    The availability of a particular cultivar can also influence its popularity. Some Japanese maple cultivars may be more widely available in nurseries or garden centers, making them more popular among gardeners.
  5. Adaptability
    Some Japanese maples are more adaptable to various soil types, moisture levels, and light conditions, making them more popular choices for a variety of landscapes and gardens.
  6. Historical significance or rarity
    Some Japanese maples may have a long history of cultivation, making them more sought out by collectors or enthusiasts. Cultivars with unique or rare features may also be more popular.
  7. Price
    The cost of a particular Japanese maple cultivar may influence its popularity. Some rare or highly coveted cultivars may be more expensive, which could affect their overall popularity among gardeners with different budgets.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Japanese maple. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or maple is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 176 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each maple once every 24 hours. The rank of each maple is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular japanese maple

Japanese maple trees are known for their stunning beauty and vibrant colors, making them a popular choice for landscapers and garden enthusiasts alike. With over 300 different varieties available, it can be difficult to determine which is the most popular. However, the Acer palmatum variety is widely considered to be the most sought-after Japanese maple tree. This variety boasts a range of colors, from deep reds to bright greens, and its delicate leaves create a stunning canopy effect when in full bloom. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, the Japanese maple tree is a must-have addition to any landscape.

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