Key Words
Japanese maple with leaves like currant; it is a form of the Shishigashira lion's head maple 'Mejishi', sold in England under the name 'ribesifolium'; 25 feet high
Other Notes
Shishigashira translates into lion's head. The fullness of the tree's broadly columnar growth habit, with its densely layered leaves presents a vivid image of the lion's mane, especially in its autumn coloration. Shishigashira Japanese maple actually consist of two very old cultivars, Acer palmatum 'Mejishi' and Acer palmatum 'Ojishi', whose names are based on the mythological female and male lions in Japanese drama. The Shishigashira costume is worn performing the Shishimai or lion dance,which dates back as far as the twelfth century. This dance is performed to exorcise spirits and invite good luck. Both cultivars are of the Acer palmatum subspecies amoenum, but are now commonly listed under the 'Dwarf' grouping in references. 'Mejishi', the female lion, is the more common type and is usually found in the trade simply as Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira'. The leaf of 'Mejishi' is very similar to Ribes alpinum, the alpine currant. Because of this likeness, it has been marketed in England as Acer palmatum 'Ribesifolium,' often misspelled 'Ribescifolium.' In the past, Shishigashira was grown in The Netherlands under the names Acer palmatum 'Crispum' and 'Cristatum', referring to Shishigashira's crispate leaves. These names have confusingly shown up in the United States along with the badly chosen synonyms 'Crispa' and 'Cristata'. A mature Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira' ('Mejishi') grows in the Jean Iseli Memorial Garden at Iseli Nursery.
Hergest Croft Garden
City, State, Country
Kingston, England, United Kingdom
Date Taken
May 1988
J. C. Raulston
J. C. Raulston's Slide Collection
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