Lace leaf Japanese Maple varieties are by far the most graceful and elegant and are often viewed as status symbols in our yards and neighborhoods. They are the aristocrat of landscape trees. These maples are from the dissectum group, meaning they have leaf lobes that are deeply dissected all the way to the petiole. They also have sharply pointed teeth on the margins of the lobes. The leaves are generally seven-lobed. The branch structure is also really beautiful. Most lace leaf varieties have weeping and twisting branches that form a dome shape if left to grow on their own. As the tree matures, the twisting and gnarling branches take on a fascinating “oriental look”. You can also stake up a leader branch and allow the secondary branches to weep down. This will give the tree more height.

You can find lace leaf Japanese maples for sale at most garden centers and nurseries across America. The most common varieties found are Tamukeyama, Crimson Queen, Red Dragon, Inaba Shidare, and Garnet. These are truly wonderful varieties but there are many other noteworthy varieties that need some attention. Here are some of my favorites….

Acer palmatum Dr. Brown.

A small lace leaf maple with a spreading habit. Small dissected leaves are colored an unusual brown-red in spring. The brown color remains present, even when the brown-red evolves to green-red in summer. Fall color is an outstanding orange-yellow. This variety is also a heavy seed producer. The small flowers in early spring are wonderful but you must look closely to enjoy them.

Acer palmatum Red Feathers.

Red Feathers is a very cute little dwarf. Slow growing with very finely dissected, feathery looking leaves. Leaf color emerges bright red turning dark red for summer. Fall color is a wonderful bright red. Elegant and attractive lace leaf selection!

Acer shirasawanum Green Snowflake.

A wonderful small weeping lace leaf. It has tiny green lacy leaves in the shape of snowflakes. Fall colors in shades of yellow to orange. Possible hybrid between a palmatum and shirasawanum.

Acer palmatum Baby Lace.

The highly desirable Baby Lace is the first lace leaf witches broom to be discovered.The finely dissected leaves are half the size of normal dissectum leaves in the first year, becoming smaller with age until reduced to the size of a thumbnail. The leaves emerge a reddish orange in the spring, becoming bronze-green for the summer, and turning orange-red to pink-red in the fall. During the summer, the orange-red new growth is an attractive color contrast to the darker bronze-green mature leaves.

Acer palmatum Chantilly Lace.

This rare tree has beautiful small lacy leaves that emerge orange-red in spring changing to green for summer with new summer leaves contrasting in red. The fall color is quite unique. It is sort of a coral yellow color. This is one of my favorite lace leaf varieties!

Acer palmatum Emerald Lace.

Emerald Lace is a wonderful, fast growing green lace leaf. Its extra lacy leaves emerge yellow-green in spring turning a nice dark green for summer. In autumn it shows wonderful shades of bright red and orange. This variety is also very popular because it is very fast growing. I have often seen 2 year grafts with 3 ft branches.

Acer palmatum Hana matoi.

This new lace leaf variety is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after palmtum varieties in recent years. Finely dissected green leaves are variegated with white, pink and red--a fantastic color show. Branches weep heavily.

Acer shirasawanum Kawaii.

One of the most exciting new varieties. Kawaii leaves emerge in spring with beautiful plum-red with orange overtones. As summer progresses the veins turn green creating an orange edged leaf. This variety is thought to be a cross between acer palmatum and acer shirasawanum. Kawaii has been proven to be much hardier than most lace leaf palmatum. Leaves are very small, often under 3 inches across. Fall color offers brilliant red and deep orange. The name in Japanese means "cute".

Acer palmatum Toyama nishiki.

This lace leaf will stop everyone dead in their tracks. Variegated leaves emerge in spring with a kaleidoscope of color. The basic leaf color is a purple-bronze tone. Variegation includes shades of pink, red, cream and white. This tree needs protection from direct sunlight. Stunning!

Acer palmatum Van den akker.

A slow-growing, mounded lace leaf with orange-red leaves that hold color well into summer. A perfect tree for a small spot in the garden. Fall color is stunning yellow to orange.

Acer palmatum Jeddeloh Orange.

This is a newer lace leaf introduction from Jeddeloh Nursery in Germany. New leaves emerge orange-green in spring turning mostly green for the summer months. Fall brings a spectacular display of bright orange. This variety has a very strong weeping habit similar to Crimson Queen. Pictures show spring color. The fall color is more of a bright pumpkin orange.