Bloodgood Japanese Maple Trees – Acer Palmatum ‘Bloodgood’
Hailing from the lands of Japan, China, and Korea, the Acer Palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, commonly known as the Bloodgood Japanese Maple, is an exquisite specimen that has successfully carved out its niche in gardens around the world, including the United Kingdom.
Description and Characteristics
Distinguished by its stunning leaf colour and structural form, the Bloodgood Japanese Maple exudes an exotic charm that is not commonly found in many English trees. Its palmate leaves are deep, burgundy red during the spring and summer, transitioning to a vivid scarlet in autumn, offering a vibrant, year-round display that is rarely found in native UK trees such as the English Oak or Common Ash.
Growing in a broad, rounded form with a beautiful, cascading branch structure, the Bloodgood Japanese Maple is a visual delight, making it an excellent feature tree in a variety of garden styles. Its spreading canopy provides a brilliant shade of colour, creating a fantastic backdrop for other plants or a shaded spot for quiet contemplation.
The Bloodgood is a medium-sized tree, typically reaching heights between 3.5 to 6 meters (12-20 feet) at maturity, with a similar spread. This makes it suitable for small to medium-sized gardens where larger trees might overwhelm the space. The tree grows at a moderate pace, usually gaining 30cm to 60cm per year.
The lifespan of a Bloodgood Japanese Maple is typically between 50 to 100 years, given optimal conditions. Some can even live beyond a century. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, one of the tallest Bloodgood Japanese Maples in the UK stands at approximately 7 meters in a private garden in Kent.
Flowering, Berries, and Reproduction
In late spring, the Bloodgood Japanese Maple features small, purple-red flowers that bloom in clusters, adding another layer to its colourful display. As the flowers fade, they give way to samaras – winged fruits commonly referred to as “helicopters” due to their spinning flight. The samaras mature from green to a bright red, further enhancing the tree’s autumnal display. The wind carries these samaras away, allowing the tree to spread its seeds and propagate naturally.
Benefits to Wildlife
Although the Bloodgood Japanese Maple isn’t a native UK species, it provides a range of benefits to local wildlife. Its dense canopy offers shelter and potential nesting sites for birds, while its seeds serve as a food source for various wildlife species. The tree’s flowers attract pollinators, supporting local insect biodiversity.
Ideal for British Gardens
The Bloodgood Japanese Maple thrives in the British climate. It prefers a sheltered position, ideally in partial shade or full sun, as long as the soil is well-drained and kept consistently moist. This makes it an adaptable choice for a wide variety of British garden designs. Its aesthetic appeal, combined with its manageable size and year-round colour, makes it a popular choice among UK gardeners.
Distribution in the UK
While the Bloodgood Japanese Maple is not native to the UK, it’s commonly found in domestic gardens, public parks, and botanical gardens across the country. Areas with temperate climates, like the South of England, are particularly suitable for these trees. London’s Kew Gardens and RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey are just a couple of examples where these maples add significant charm and character to the landscape.
In conclusion, the Bloodgood Japanese Maple offers a unique blend of vibrant, season-changing colours, manageable growth size, and benefits to local wildlife. With a bit of patience and the right care, this tree can become a striking focal point of any British garden, creating a space of beauty and tranquillity.