There are hundreds of different varieties of Japanese Maples. Listed below are some of the more common varieties in the Pacific Northwest. All Japaneses Maples are the Acer Palmatum species. We generally classify trees into two broad classes, laceleaf and upright. Here are a few varieties commonly planted in the Pacific Northwest.
Dissectum – This is generally called a Japanese Laceleaf. There are several different varieties in this classification, but all are distinguished by the lacy appearance of the leaf. These trees are long lived and tend to be short and wide. The limb structure naturally twists and turns leading to some beautiful shapes. They are our specialty to work on. They do require regular maintenance, but can have exquisite beauty.
Bloodgood – A fairly popular choice of upright due to the deep dark red leaf color. These trees look great when fully leafed out.
Seiryu – Another upright with very lacy limb and leaf structure. These have thin green leaves very much like the Dissectum variety.
Shishigashira – The common name for this upright is Lion’s Mane or Lion’s Head. It is a slow growing tree. It requires a very different pruning technique from all other Japaneses Maples. The emphasis is on the tight leaf clusters and less on the limb structure. One of our favorite trees to work on.
Sango Kaku – Known as a Coral Bark, new limbs on this upright are a brilliant red color.
Vine Maple – While not a Japanese Maple, they can be quite beautiful when shaped like a vase of flowers. They typically have several main trunks emerging from the ground in a tight cluster.
Here is a great reference for many Japanese Maple Varieties.