Variety Palmatum Dissectum Ornatum

Japanese Maple ‘Ornatum’

Article and pictures by .
‘Ornatum’ (full name Acer Palmatum ‘Ornatum’) is a very old Japanese Maple variety which has been cultivated in Europe for several centuries. The leaf colour is particularly interesting because in many situations it has three distinct phases. In Spring the leaves emerge as a cross between bronzed and red. In late summer the colour turns slightly greener. Finally in autumn the leaves turn a particularly pleasant red-orange. The picture below was taken in October.

Picture of Japanese Maple 'Ornatum'

This is a slow growing tree which forms an attractive rounded shape. ‘Ornatum’ has declined in popularity over the last decade or so being replaced by other varieties which have a deeper red colour in autumn. This is an unwarranted decline in popularity because this variety is resistant to disease and will tolerate a wider range of growing conditions compared to many other Japanese Maple trees.

Summary of Japanese Maple ‘Ornatum’

Genus Acer
Species Palmatum
Variety ‘Ornatum’
Light Most conditions, partial shade is best
Hardy Yes, looses its leaves in winter
Soil Most, but best slightly acidic and well-drained
Height 3m / 9ft after 20 years
Spread 4m / 13ft after 20 years
Form Short stem with a mounded crown
Colour Bronze red, bronze green, red
Container No
Bonsai No


The leaves are of average size, with long, very thin lobes. En masse they give a very feathery appearance.

The tree is generally short stemmed with a well-formed and mounded head. A handsome tree for most gardens.

Coloured leaves of Japanese Maple ornatum

Green leaf of acer palmatum ornatum (Japanese maple)

In older trees the branches tend to curl giving the ‘Ornatum’ a very attractive appearance when viewed from below. See the picture on the left. See the picture below

Bark and trunk of Acer palmatum dissectum 'Ornatum'


This variety has no special needs, see our page here with full details on caring for your Japanese Maple tree. The following is a summary:

  • When planting your tree, position is key. A slightly acidic soil, partial shade in warmer areas of the UK (fullĀ  sun in cooler areas) and a regular water supply are key.
  • Hand water for the first two years when conditions are dry.
  • An annual mulch up the edges of the canopy of the tree in late spring is beneficial.
  • Do not feed the tree unless your soil is very low in nutrients.
  • If you need to prune to keep the tree to size, do it in late November to early January.

The tree is generally short stemmed with a well-formed and mounded head. A handsome tree for most gardens.

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