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While most of us get excited about fall colors on Japanese Maples, those who work closely with them get to know the distinctive spring foliage as it emerges and recognize the tree’s species and cultivar by the distinct pattern, texture and coloration of the fine early foliage which distinguishes each named variety. This is my personal favorite right now– a mature “Coral Bark” Maple, or “Sango Kaku” as it is called in Japanese. The branching may not be the most sculptural, and the branches tend to be brittle and easily broken– a hazard for bonsai at best– but the emerging leaves have this amazing variation in color from edge to center, with a fine ring of bright red rimming every leaf giving the effect of spun gold in the spring sunlight.