Acer palmatum ‘Shigitatsu Sawa’ • aka Acer palmatum ‘Reticulatum’

Acer • Maple • カエデ • 楓 • kaede

[The text below was prepared by SJG Plant Committee for docent maple training in fall 2013]

One is located in area ZZW. This maple grows upright to 15 to 20 feet tall and wide with a somewhat open round top. The growth has an open elegant layering with “reticulated” leaves like stained glass windows.

The leaves are 7-to-9 lobed, toothed, slightly cupped & tapering to a sharp point. Leaves are “reticulated” – light yellow-green with prominent darker veins. When the leaves darken in mid-summer, the reticulation is less prominent. The meaning of this cultivar name is “snipes, quaking, fly up from the swamp.”

Shigitatsu Sawa is the name of a place in Sagami-Oiso,that a poet named about 200 years ago. The following is from an old poetry book: “In the evening, in Fall, at Shigitatsu Sawa, even a person whose heart is vacant, feels sad.” The fall color is bright red or rich red-green.

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SJG • 10/4/13 – Acer palmatum ‘Shigitatsu Sawa’ • aka Acer palmatum ‘Reticulatum’, leaning over the path behind Tea House Garden, Area ZZW

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SJG • 10/4/13 – Acer palmatum ‘Shigitatsu Sawa’ • aka Acer palmatum ‘Reticulatum’, Area ZZW – LEAVES beginning of October

Actually, our a. p. reticulatum tends to have green-to-yellow leaves in fall, perhaps due to its shady placement; here the same leaves 2.5 weeks later, the bush looks brownish to yellow, many leaves already fallen:

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SJG • 10/22/13 – Acer palmatum ‘Shigitatsu Sawa’ • aka Acer palmatum ‘Reticulatum’, Area ZZW – LEAVES the end of October

From Jackson Nurseries in UK:  […] Eye-catching early spring variegation on this deciduous maple – almost the entire leaf will be pale green with a blush of pinkie red and dark green veins. The leaves will turn green by May with slightly darker veins. Stunning colours of bronze-scarlet in autumn. […]

From Essence of the Tree in CA: One of the first cultivars with variegation following the vein of the leaf.Very pale green in spring changing to a medium green in summer with a less defined vein. Fall color is golden yellow with a contrasting vein. Bark is pale green with white striations. Structure is open and layered, as wide as tall. Slow growing,though not difficult, must have protection from intense sun.

And here a link to UBC Botanical Garden forum, where various people have an interesting discussion on growing a. p. shigitatsu sawa in close to our climate (PNW): […] The true form of ‘Aka Shigitatsu sawa’ out of Japan is just not seen any more. Most of the truer individuals that were grafted in the US have died out or changed on us. The old Maple was laden with Verticillium and when attempts were made to clean up this plant we lost the red (aka) color of it. The is how the saga was told to me. The picture shown on page 111 of the Vertrees 2nd edition Japanese Maple book and a smaller photo of the same photo I was given, in the Vertrees/Gregory 3rd edition Japanese Maple book page 109 does show what the original Maple looked like. […]

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