deCordova Japanese Maple

With over 1,000 varieties of Maples and cultivars, the iconic Japanese Maple is among the most versatile small trees for the landscape. But they grow slowly (one to two feet per year) and they are very hard to grow from cuttings. Most of the Japanese Maple trees at garden centers come from grafting, in which the select variety is joined with a seedling-grown rootstock, so they can continue to grow together. 

Japanese Maples, called the “autumn welcoming trees” in Japan, generally grow to be 20 to 25 feet tall. But be patient: some will grow very slowly, staying small for a long time, before eventually turning into a majestic 40-foot-tall tree. 

Fried maple leaves are a very popular snack in the Japanese prefecture of Osaka, and apparently have been for at least a thousand years. The city of Minoh, located in the north part of the prefecture, is particularly famous for their fried leaves. The Maple leaves are dipped and fried in tempura butter, which give them their unique taste. Chefs in Minoh usually store their leaves in barrels of salt for one year, which they say enhances their taste.