Acer shirasawanum, found in the wild in Japan, is a rare tree in gardens, except in one of its gold-leaved forms. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 saw the launch of what could well be the best of these golden forms yet: Moonrise ('Munn001').
Developing steadily into a medium-sized shrub, the new shoots open bright red in spring with the shoot tips retaining this colouring as it grows. The foliage then becomes increasingly yellow, retaining a red flush for some time. The result, in summer, is a mass of prettily dissected chartreuse foliage setting off the red shoot tips. The otherwise similar ‘Autumn Moon’ has less red in its new growth. Later in the season, the whole plant changes again as the foliage develops bright scarlet autumn colour.
Although Moonrise tolerates sun better than other yellow-leaved forms of this species, it’s best grown in partial shade and in fertile but well-drained soil. It also makes a fine container specimen but should never be allowed to dry out.
Moonrise was discovered in 1991 by the noted Japanese maple specialist, Carl Munn, as a chance seedling on his Oregon nursery. He grew it for fifteen years, confirming how special the plant is, before finally deciding to introduce it.
Acer shirasawanum Moonrise ('Munn001') was launched at the Hillier Nurseries exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.
Growing Japanese maples
Buy Acer Moonrise
Please note: the contents of this blog are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the RHS.