Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira'

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: palmatum (pahl-MAY-tum) (Info)
Cultivar: Shishigashira
Additional cultivar information: (aka Lion's Head, Lion's Mane, Crispum, Ribescifolium, Shishi gashira)

» View all varieties of Japanese Maples

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


Palmatum (deeply divided leaves)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By grafting
By budding

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 26 photos.
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6 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ews1951 On Sep 25, 2012, ews1951 from Keansburg, NJ wrote:

I planted this tree in our front yard in New Jersey in 1985 as a 4 foot tall import from Oregon. It seems to like the southeast exposure where the leaves are a darker green than others I have seen in local plantings. Now, 27 years later, it is about 10 feet tall with a spread of about 8 feet. The bottom of the trunk at ground level is approximately 7 inches across, with the largest branches having 3-4 inch widths. Just in the last few years I have had to trim out several branches that die off during the summer, but it is still very healthy and beautiful.

Positive Jade55 On Mar 15, 2010, Jade55 wrote:

I bought a shishigashira approx 1 1/2 yrs ago. It was then 4' tall by 2' wide. Was left in it's pot for a year before planting in my front yard. Is doing great but is slow growing, maybe several inches. Does anyone know the approx age it would be by the size described? Also best success for propagating? Semi-soft Cuttings vs seeds?

Positive DonnaJG On Nov 13, 2009, DonnaJG from Indianapolis, IN wrote:

I've had this Japanese maple in my garden about 6-7 yrs. It seems to do well with a lot of shade. It is slow growing and has stayed compact (about 6-8 ' tall). 'Shishigashira' has dark green leaves through out the growing season--I like the texture of the foliage. My favorite feature is the fiery red fall color that occurs about mid November, extending the fall color after most other trees and shrubs have lost theirs.

Positive Creeker On Nov 16, 2008, Creeker from Stoney Creek
Canada wrote:

I live in Southern Ontario where occasionally it can get down to -20F during the winter and this tree is very tough and is doing quite well. What's unusual about this tree is the varying fall colors from year to year. In some years I've observed a bright orange yellow color while in other years the color has been a bright fire red. It's easily my favorite Japanese maple.

Positive larue8122 On Oct 14, 2006, larue8122 from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Started with a very small plant because it was so expensive and have transplanted it once (just because I wanted to.) It is doing great. Slow growing but is now about 5' and bushy in spite of the fact that my son dropped a board on it breaking off a couple of branches. I looked for a matching plant to match at its current size as an accent on the other side of the pathway, but the large ones don't come cheap. If you aren't rich, you might want to start small.

Positive faykoko On Jun 11, 2006, faykoko from Cross Lanes, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

very nice "crispy" foliage very slow growing zone 6B full sun
about 4"per year


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Aptos, California
Bakersfield, California
Garberville, California
Livermore, California
Richmond, California
Westport, Connecticut
Powder Springs, Georgia
Palmyra, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Tupelo, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Warrenton, Missouri
Keansburg, New Jersey
Rochester, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Chesterland, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Euclid, Ohio
Gates Mills, Ohio
Albany, Oregon
Hubbard, Oregon
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Harleysville, Pennsylvania
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania
Lincoln, Rhode Island
Walhalla, South Carolina
Arlington, Tennessee
Anacortes, Washington
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Bothell, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Orchards, Washington
Yakima, Washington
Charleston, West Virginia
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

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