Acer palmatum, commonly known as red emperor maple, palmate maple, Japanese maple or smooth Japanese-maple, is a species of woody plant native to Japan, Korea, China, eastern Mongolia, and southeast Russia.
Acer palmatum is a deciduous shrub or small tree reaching heights of 6 to 10 m (20 to 33 ft), rarely 16 metres (52 ft), often growing as an understory plant in shady woodlands. It may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground. In habit, its canopy often takes on a dome-like form, especially when mature. Even in nature, Acer palmatum displays considerable genetic variation, with seedlings from the same parent tree typically showing differences in such traits as leaf size, shape, and color. Overall form of the tree can vary from upright to weeping. Acer palmatum has been cultivated in Japan for centuries and in temperate areas around the world since the 1800s.