Acer palmatum Shigitatsu sawa is a very old Japanese cultivar dating back to the 1600’s. In J.D. Vertrees book Japanese Maples, he describes this small tree as a variegated cultivar. As described in his book variegation is found in the new growth with inter spaces of yellow on the whitish green leaves with dark veins. Visible veins on a maple leaf is known as reticulation. I believe it is best grown in a location with early morning sun and shade or indirect sunlight the rest of the day. If grown in full shade the dark veins are not visible.  In the right growing conditions the new leaves seem almost opaque and more white than green. Fall color begins with yellow tones changing to darker orange with some red tints.

Acer palmatum Shigitatsu sawa is a slow grower and forms a small tree with a height of 5-6′ in 10 years. The branching structure grows in the classic ‘V’ shape.  This maple makes a wonderful specimen for a small garden with its changing seasonal interest. Once established this cultivar is hardy to USDA zone 5. For more information on the best growing conditions for your maples, please see Care and Maintenance of Japanese Maples.  If you enjoy Japanese Maples and want to learn more about these amazing trees check out the Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers.

Limited availability. When these 3 gallon size maples are sold I will not be re-stocking this cultivar. I am slowly retiring.

The first photo of Shigitatsu sawa is a close up of the whitish green reticulated leaves in the spring. The second photo shows the Shigitatsu sawa in my display garden with spring color. The last photo shows fall color beginning with yellow and ending with orange and red tints.