Common names (selected) English: Japanese maple, smooth Japanese maple; Chinese: 鸡爪槭; French: érable du Japon; German: Fächerahorn; Japanese: イロハモミジ
Description: perennial deciduous shrub or tree
Native region and distribution: Native to temperate Asia. Cultivated widely as an ornamental tree around the world.
Urban habitat: cultivated as an ornamental tree in gardens but sometimes spreads seedlings elsewhere.
Ecological function: Habitat for wildlife.
History/human uses: Widely cultivated, Acer palmatum includes thousands of cultivars with different forms, leaf types, sizes and preferred growing conditions. It is a popular species for Japanese bonsai pruning. Decoctions from its branches and leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and its sap can be boiled into a syrup or used as a drink.