Japanese Maple 'Shishigashira'

Acer palmatum

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





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

Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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