Acer palmatum ‘Oto Hime’
This is the SFA Mast Arboretum’s favorite toadstool award winner year in and out. Actually, this is the tree world’s version of the ugly duckling transforming into a beautiful swan. In the container, it’s a sad looking fellow in its youth. No doubt it’s kind of slow at first, but with a little time and good position, this plant can take off. It’s one of those plants that just get better and better with age. Six or seven year old plants should reach four to five feet wide, and two to three foot tall. Our twenty year old specimen is now 8’ wide and 4’ tall. We have rooted this cultivar and, as we’re prone to do with student-generated goodies, we’ve planted a good number in the SFA Mast Arboretum and Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden. Fall color is somewhat below Japanese maple quality, but early spring growth is attractive. Small lime-green leaves sport salmon-burgundy edges, which soon green up for the summer. The tree is appears to be quite drought resistant once well established. Why doesn’t someone high graft this variety on a vigorous Japanese rootstock. Aim for a trunk of three to four feet with this toadstoollike beauty parked right on top. Who wouldn’t like that?