Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira' - The Lion's Head Japanese Maple
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Tightly congested, crinkled foliage arranged along stiff upright branches characterizes this old and famous Japanese Maple known as the 'Lion's Head' maple. This name relates to an old ritual in Japan where dancers wore costumes for the 'lion dance' to exorcise evil spirits. The name 'shishigashira' refers to two different cultivars, 'Meijishi' and 'O jishi', both grown in Japan for a long time. However, the cultivar 'Meijishi' is what is generally grown and called 'Shishigashira'. The tree will grow to 5-8 ft tall over time with branches ascending in a steep angle upwards. The color is dark-green until fall when the leaves turn orange before dropping. A.p. 'Shishigashira' will develop a very sculptural form that gets better over time. One of the last to turn color in the fall. Hardy to zone 6. Makes a great patio tree.