Acer shirasawanum Kawaii is a rare lace leaf maple with spring color that is variegated pink-red on green leaves. In the summer the variegation is a darker red. Fall color is pink-red without the green. This maple is very slow growing and best grown in a container with morning sun and afternoon shade. The growth habit is compact for a lace leaf that is not a weeper and it is often grafted on a high standard to make Kawaii taller which also creates a whole new look. However, a low graft is perfect for the bonsai enthusiast, as well as being a more traditional look for this cultivar. Kawaii in Japanese means ‘cute’ and she really is.
Acer shirasawanum Kawaii is in the ‘full moon’ group of maples. Though most likely a palmatum and shirasawanum hybrid because of the unique leaf structure. It is a very slow growing maple that may reach 2-3′ in 10 years. The branches are not pendulous, but rigid which is why it doesn’t weep. Once established this cultivar is hardy -20 degrees, USDA zone 5. Other shirasawanum maples that I have listed in the website include Autumn Moon, Jordan, Moonrise, Johin, Mikado, and Sensu.
If you love Japanese Maples as much as I do, you can learn more about these amazing trees by joining the Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers.It is free to join – you just have to be a Facebook member. The contributors to the group have a wealth of experience and post many photos.
The first photo is courtesy of Talon Buchholz showing fall color. The second photo shows a close-up of the leaves and the wonderful variegated color. Kawaii was discovered and introduced by Buchholz Nursery as part of their Flora Wonder ™ Collection.