The Brilliant Beauty of a Japanese Maple

Inspired by our own, late-to-change-color, yet brilliant tree in our front yard, we decided to explore the magic of a Japanese Maple, those small yet impactful trees you’ll see in your own neighborhood.

Native to Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia and parts of Russia, the Japanese Maple, or Acer palmatum is actually defined as a deciduous shrub or small tree.


Known for their dome-like tops, intricate maple leaf forms, and vibrant fall colors, Japanese Maples just feel…..right.  They often have a twisting branch structure that provides a canopy formation, which is sought after for its tidy and ornate appearance.

We love the various brilliant colors they achieve in autumn, turning from green or maroon to bright shades of red, orange, and yellow. As we took in the fall colors this season, we noticed how the Japanese Maples in particular held onto their leaves and colors longer than other trees, providing that beautiful pop of color in the neighborhood.

We’ve gathered a collection of beautiful Japanese Maple photos from Unsplash, showcasing the trees in a range of vibrancy.

A mainstay of manicured Japanese Gardens, these maples provide a zen-like addition to the thoughtful stones, ponds, and other trees.

Varying from an upright position to one that is ‘weeping’, the Japanese Maple shows a surprising genetic diversity, giving it a wide range of appearances.

The size of Japanese Maples ranges from around 1.5 feet up to 85 feet in height, with moderate growing speed, depending on climate.

Love trees like we do? Check out our entire category of Tree posts, covering all manner of trees, from the oldest, to tallest to biggest anywhere on earth.