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Lions Head Japanese Maple - Acer Palmatum Shishigashira
An upright form featuring unique, crinkled, bright green leaves in tufts along the stems. The tufts are in thick bunches that resemble a lions head, hence the name. Definitely one of the most distinct Japanese maples in our gardens, guests always stop for a closer inspection and ask the name. Get all the details below

Lions Head Japanese Maple - Acer Palmatum Shishigashira

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Lions Head Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira'

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5a-8b (9a?)  Find Your Zone

Note: For our customers who live and garden north of USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5a, where this Japanese Maple variety is not reliably winter hardy, you'll be happy to know it can be grown in containers that can be brought indoors during winter and placed back outside when temperatures warm up in spring. In fact, Shishigashira is one of the most popular Japanese Maples for use as a container specimen or bonsai. 



Special Attributes

The Lions Head Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’, is an upright form featuring unique, crinkled, bright green leaves in tufts along the stems. The tufts are in thick bunches that resemble a lions head, hence the name. Definitely one of the most distinct Japanese maples in our gardens, guests always stop for a closer inspection and ask the name. The leaves of Lions Head turn showy shades of gold to crimson in fall, a sight to behold. Small reddish-purple flowers in spring are attractive on close inspection and contrast nicely with the bright green leaves. The leaves don't burn in full sun and the humidity here in north-central Georgia doesn't phase the tree. Growing 10 to 15 feet all makes Lions Head a fine selection for small garden spaces and containers. A popular choice for bonsai.




Landscape & Garden Uses

To showcase its unique magnificence and beauty, Lions Head Japanese Maple is best used in the landscape as a focal point specimen to draw attention to a specific area of the home or landscape. That said, you can plant in groupings of three or plant one on both sides of an entryway to accentuate the entrance. Excellent for use in container gardens and bonsai.

Spacing: At least 12' for space between trees


Note:  One Japanese Maple can make a landscape...that is if you don't overcrowd it with other trees and plants. Therefore, when selecting companions to plant under or around your Japanese Maple, make sure to select low-growing shrubs or groundcover plants that won't interfere at all with your tree.  




Cultural Preferences

Though delicate looking, Japanese Maples are actually very tough and long-lived trees. They are very easy to grow. Container culture can extend their useful range. They are extremely easy to grow in containers, a practice taken to its most extreme form in the art of bonsai.

In their natural habitat, Japanese Maples are understory trees, growing in dappled forest sunlight at the edges of woodlands. Ideally they prefer to be grown in similar conditions. That said, Lions Head is one that thrives in full sun. You can find a complete listing of our sun-tolerant Japanese Maple varieties here, of which Summer Gold is one. 

Most any average garden soil will grow Japanese Maples. They prefer a moist but well-drained soil rich in organic matter. As with so many other ornamental plants and trees, constantly soggy or wet soil can be problematic. So make sure to plant your Japanese Maple in a well-drained site.




Helpful Articles

Click on a link below to get helpful advice from our experts on how to plant and care for Japanese Maple trees.







Plant Details

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5a-8b(9a?)  Find Your Zone
Height at Maturity:  10-15'
Width at Maturity:  8-10'
Growth Habit / Form:  Upright, Vase Shape to Rounded
Growth Rate:  Slow 
Foliage Color in Spring:  Light Green to Rich Green
Foliage Color in Summer:   Rich Green
Foliage Color in Fall:  Bright Golden, Orange, Red
Light Needs:  Full Sun or Mostly Sun, Morning Sun with Dappled or Afternoon Shade, All Day Filtered Sun, Morning Shade with Evening Sun
Water Needs:  Average, moderately drought tolerant when established
Soil Type:  Sandy, Loam & Clay (Condition heavy clay soils when planting)
Drainage:  Well drained soil is a must!
Soil pH:  6.0 - 7.0 is ideal
Maintenance:  Low
Resistances:  Deer, Heat Tolerant, Insect Resistant, Sun Tolerant



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