Acer palmatum Shishigashira is know as the Lion’s Head’ or Lion’s Mane based upon a mythical lion in Japanese drama because of its shape and growth habit. Bunched up, heavily curled leaves grow at the end of short stout shoots [say that 3 times, lol]. This is an old cultivar in the palmatum category. A medium sized tree with a most unusual characteristic – the leaves are small and crinkled around upright branches.
The foliage is deep green and firm to the touch. The tree structure is stiff – branches and leaves do not wave in the wind, as with most maples. This maple loves full sun and does not burn. Shishigashira is considered a slow growing tree suitable for bonsai enthusiasts. However, over fertilization may lead to rapid growth and an overall leggy look which is not desirable.
Acer palmatum Shishigashira like other Japanese maples benefits from some pruning to shape the tree, as well as removing any dead branches. We’ve pruned annually to keep our Shishigashira, in our display garden, around 7′ tall and wide. Acer palmatum Shishigashira like other Japanese maples benefits from pruning to shape the tree. For more information see Pruning Japanese Maples.
If you love Japanese Maples as much as I do and are a Facebook user – you can learn more about these amazing trees, please join the Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers.It is free to join and the contributors have a wealth of experience and are available for questions.
The first photo is shows a close-up of the crinkled leaves. The second photo shows Shishigashira in our display garden with bright green summer color. The last photo shows the beginning of the change to fall color – orange red for a 3 gallon size in my inventory.