Japanese Maples: Momiji and Keade / Edition 3

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This is among the first books published by Timber Press, and after more than two decades it continues to be one of our signature bestsellers. A comprehensive source of information on the culture, identification, and nomenclature of Japanese maples, it describes each of the 320 cultivars of Acer palmatum and 60 cultivars of other Japanese maple species, plus briefly mentions 150 promising new plants. The index lists every horticultural name published, ensuring that Japanese Maples will continue to be the foremost reference book on this wonderfully versatile collection of ornamental plants.

This fully updated third edition has been revised by Peter Gregory and is even more international than its predecessors. It adds approximately 100 important new maple hybrids and selections that have been introduced since the last revision by Vertrees in 1987, bringing to nearly 400 the total number of plants described. Nomenclature has been updated to conform to current standards, many additional photographs have been included, and descriptions have been rearranged for greater ease of reference.

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Editorial Reviews

"Whether planting a single specimen tree or seriously collecting maples, this is the reference book to consult."

—D. H. Pfister, Choice, November 2001

Newark Star-Ledger
"Since 1978, the basic information source on these small trees has been Japanese Maples by J. D. Vertrees. Now, we have a valuable new third edition greatly enlarged and brought up to date by maple expert Peter Gregory."

—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger, October 21, 2001

The Washington Post
"The ultimate book about the aristocrat of trees ... the only English-language reference devoted to Japanese maples and one of the preeminent texts in the world for the propagation, identification and cultivation of this exceptionally useful plant."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post, December 8, 2001

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881925012
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/8/2001
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 8.79 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

J. D. Vertrees (1915-1993) was probably the most knowledgeable grower of Japanese maples in his time, and amassed at Maplewood Nursery in southern Oregon the largest collection of Japanese maples in the United States.

Peter Gregory, retired manager at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, England, is the chairman and co-founder of the Maple Society and the editor of its journal. He has been involved with tree research, including maples, for more than five decades. He lives in the UK.

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Read an Excerpt

I admit prejudice, but I feel this group of plants has one of the greatest ranges of use and beauty of any horticultural plants in use today. The diversity of size, color, form, shape, and utility is so great that, when Japanese maples are selected wisely, they will fit almost any need. We do not think of them as flowering shrubs. Even though maples have very interesting blossoms, some quite colorful, they are not a predominant characteristic. Many people do not even realize that they flower. Blossoms of many cultivars, such as Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', are quite striking, though not large and perhaps of interest only to the more discerning gardener.

However, the lack of bold blossoms is more than offset by the great variation of leaf color and shape which these plants can add to the color of the garden landscape. Spring foliage among the cultivars offers a wide choice in plant selection. In the larger forms, there are the bold greens with rust or tangerine tones in the new foliage. The brilliant reds, orange reds, and maroons of many upright palmatums will lend accent to plantings. Wide choices also are possible with the variegated white-pink-green leaves of such maples as 'Asahi zuru', 'Kasen nishiki', 'Oridono nishiki', and many others. Nothing could look more like flowering shrubs than the extraordinary shell pinks found in 'Corallinum', 'Karasu gawa', and 'Matsugae'. The eye can never pass lightly over the flare of color presented by the brilliant flaming foliage of 'Beni komachi', 'Chishio', 'Seigai', or 'Shin deshôjô', to name only a few. These brilliant fire-reds, crimsons, and tangerine-reds are so intense at times as to be almost fluorescent. All these color combinations occur in the larger, more upright forms. The same choices occur in dwarf cultivars which lend themselves to small companion plantings or container growing.

Unusual types such as 'Higasa yama' have a "flower" quality as the new buds unfold. They open much like popcorn with irregular unfolding leaves colored in yellows and reds. 'Tsuma gaki' has new foliage which approaches a floral display. These stages last for several weeks, thus giving a long "flower" period. All the colored foliage retains its brilliance for at least one or two months, which is longer than the period for which most of our flowering shrubs will perform. The dissectums offer unusual brilliance and delicacy. Combinations of lacelike tracery of form, plus crimson, maroon, green-red, or variegated white-pink-green tones blend in the most pleasing way with the delicate cascading of the plant form. These make breathtaking specimen plants. They are even more striking when planted in groups in the proper setting.

A second color display occurs each fall, which is surely an added bonus when compared to most flowering shrubs. This show of fall foliage color is absolutely spectacular. The bold green 'Ôsakazuki', for example, adds a strong green accent all season. Then in the fall it bursts forth with the most vivid crimson flame display imaginable. Even in early morning light or late evening dusk, the tones carry a fluorescent quality that demands attention. Equally vivid, but of a different crimson tonality, is the display of Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium', the fern-leaf japonicum. I hesitate to list specific cultivars, fearing readers will limit their thinking to just these few, when the possibilities are almost limitless. The several cultivars in the Palmatum Group all present vivid yellow, orange, and orange red foliage. Most of the selections of A. japonicum are outstanding for fall color. The delicate golden fullmoon maple, A. shirasawanum 'Aureum', follows the spring display of chartreuse-yellow-green with a fall display of gold, crimson, and orange, blended at times with purple overtones. One must see to believe.

Photo above: Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' or Fern-leaf maple.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Preface to the Third Edition 11
Preface to the Second Edition 15

Chapter 1 Character and History 21
What Is a Japanese Maple? 21
Momiji and Kaede 22
The Character of Japanese Maples 23
Variegation 27
In Regard to Fu 29
History of Japanese Cultivars 30
Old Literature on Japanese Maples 32

Chapter 2 Taxonomy and Nomenclature 35
The Taxonomy of Maples 35
Taxonomy of Acer palmatum 38

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is the book we use most at our nursery. The tree descriptions and photos are outstanding. This book is a must if you are a collector, nursery or a maple enthusiast. I strongly recommend the third edition of this outstanding book. J.D. Vertrees also does a terrific job of informing its readers about the history of Japanese maple trees. The owners of Pacific Coast Maples Nursery feel that this book is a step above the rest.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2003

    The encyclopedia for Japanese Maples

    This book has everything. . . if you want to know about the history of these delightful trees, classification mistakes, cultural requirements - it's all there. The photography is breathtaking. Well worth the money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    The Best book on Japanese Maples

    I am a Botanist/Horticulturalist. I have used this book for 20 years as a reference resource. It is by far the most comprehensive publication on Japannese Maples that one will find. I have used it so much that I have purchased this book 3 times over the last 20 years as each new edition becomes available. I can not say enough positive things about this book. If one is even remotely interested in Japanese Maples then one must BUY THIS BOOK. Happy reading.

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