Herb: Japanese Maple


Latin name: Acer palmatum


Synonyms: Acer polymorphum


Family: Aceraceae (Maple Family)



Edible parts of Japanese Maple:

The sap contains a certain amount of sugar and can either be used as a drink, or can be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The concentration of sugar is considerably lower than in the sugar maples (A. saccharum). The tree trunk is tapped in the early spring, the sap flowing better on warm sunny days following a frost. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. Leaves - cooked. We have eaten nicer leaves.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
8 m
(26 feet)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Woods and thickets in a wide range of soils and exposures in lowland and mountains to 3000 metres in C. and S. Japan.

Other uses of Japanese Maple:

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8C. It can be slow to germinate. The seed can be harvested "green" (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. Only strong-growing cultivars succeed from cuttings, plants of the dissected or variegated cultivars will rarely grow into good plants.

Cultivation of Japanese Maple:

Woods and thickets in a wide range of soils and exposures in lowland and mountains to 3000 metres in C. and S. Japan.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Acer palmatum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.