After last Autumn’s fabulous show, this year’s display has been a little muted. The conditions that gave us such amazing colours last year – a wet summer, warm sunny Autumn days and cool nights – have not been repeated this year. However, despite the less-than-optimal conditions, one tree is still putting on a beautiful show. Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ is a reliable Autumn performer, with a bonfire of colours at this time of the year.
But it isn’t grown just for the fantastic seasonal colour – it is a valuable tree in the garden at any time. The large, grape-leaf (hence ‘Vitifolium’) shaped leaves are a beautiful light green in spring, darkening to a mid-green in late Summer, just before they turn the amazing mixtures of yellow, orange and red. It forms a mid size tree, tending to a broad spreading form, with a twisting trunk and broad, layered branches. Known as the Full-Moon maple, it is, as the Latin name suggests, a native of Japan and Southern Korea.