Monday, November 25, 2013

Japanese Maples' Amazing Colors

Japanese maples in the Doris Duke Center Gardens
By Erika Zambello

All trees are beautiful in the fall. This season has been spectacularly beautiful in North Carolina, with golds and crimsons and oranges in dramatic, flame-colored hues. The Japanese maples of the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum and the Doris Duke Center Gardens, however, are particularly brilliant this year.

Acer palmatum 'Villa Taranto'
Though most of the Japanese maples in Duke Gardens are red, the Acer palmatum 'Villa Taranto' has turned a bright yellow, which is particularly striking combined with its long, finger-like leaves and curling tendrils. Growing next to the Arboretum's pond, this Japanese maple is impossible to miss.

Acer palmatum ssp. dissectum 'Garnet'
Though I love the gold, I've always been partial to red. The Acer palmatum ssp. dissectum 'Garnet' shines as the sunlight passes through each leaf from above. The foliage of the 'Garnet' cultivar is particularly fine and delicate, and the thin leaves seem adept at catching long pine needles falling from the trees above.

Acer palmatum 'Sherwood Flame'
My favorite Japanese maple, however, has to be the Acer palmatum 'Sherwood Flame.' With red-purple leaves in the spring and summer and bright crimson foliage in the fall, this cultivar is guaranteed to be colorful all year round. Come check out this season's Japanese maples before winter truly arrives!

Japanese maple in the Doris Duke Center Gardens
Blogger Erika Zambello is a graduate student studying Ecosystem Science and Conservation at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

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