This tree has a name that slides off the tongue.  Shishigashira, shhhhhhishigashira, shishhhhhhhhigashira, shishigasssssshhira, any way you say it, it’s  fun.  Especially fast, shishigashira.  I wonder how to type a word that represents very quick speech.  Slow speech is easy, lotttttssssss of lettttttttersssssssss.  Fast speech?  Shishigashira?  No, bold doesn’t work, it’s too blocky and solid, not fast.  Shishigashira, in italics is starting to get faster.  I want to type in really small font, but can’t seem to do it on WordPress.  So I settle with shishigashira in red italics, because italics seem slippery and red is the color of a fast car.  Yes, it’s a good name and worth repeating out loud!   

Shishigashira means ‘Lions Head’ and is a variety of Acer palmatum or Japanese Maple.  This tree is all about shape and form.  The tight leaves are held in clumps and are curly and crinkled next to the branches and stems.  The whole effect is not soft and flowing, but rather of distinct shapes and spaces.  This tree gives structure to the garden.  It grows to a modest height of 12-15 feet tall in zones 5-8 and is well known for it’s fiery fall color.  Here are the trees which sparked my interest.  I was walking past Sammamish city hall after our last farmers market of the season and noticed this row of five Shishigashiras.  They were giving off that feeling that often comes from this special tree…”I’m a Japanese Maple, love me!”  I do love them, and also admired how each one was different in growth and pattern as they stood in a row.  Do you have a favorite Japanese Maple?

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7 thoughts on “Shhhhhhhishigashira

  1. Do these turn a lovely colour in autumn? I don’t know the name of my Japanese acer, but it is gorgeous at the moment – fire red and burgundy! I love acers!

  2. Gorgeous tree! I bought it in full autumn color – saw it at a nursery and had to have it! Just visited some folks in Roseburg, OR, who have a large one in front of their house as a specimen tree – the largest one I’ve seen. Great choice to highlight, Rainyleaf!

    1. Yes, I’m starting to remember how stunning they are in the fall. Ours at the nursery and in the landscape here in the Pacific Northwest are still green, green, green. Temperatures have been warm, but just this morning low 40’s….brrrr….fall color soon!

  3. I have tried for years to grow Japanese acers…so many gorgeous ones with unusual foliage and brilliant fall colors…but alas only one burgundy colored leaf type will grow well here with our brutal winds…love to see this one with its fall coat!!

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