The Japanese maple cultivar ‘Sango kaku’, often referred to as Coral bark maple, is generally one of the most prized of all of the upright palmate types for its winter interest. The bark on new twigs turns bright coral red (almost fluorescent) after the leaves fall. In Japan the name ‘Sango kaku’ refers to “coral-painted”. A vigorous upright cultivar that may attain a landscape size of 25′ tall and 20′ wide. Current season growth is abundant and can be twiggy. Leaves emerge in April and display a pleasing yellow-green with plum to red edging. As the young leaves expand they soon age to light green for the rest of spring and then take on autumn-like hues of red and orange beginning in early summer. The leaves themselves are classified as simple, opposite, with 5-7 lobes, with serrated edges.
Older trees form vase shaped canopies. The intense coral bark color is reduced as the trunk and stems enlarge.